Hello! Welcome to the latest Geeky Brummie Gaming Roundup!
This week, Bayonetta voice disputes, Silent Hill and EA shutting down services.
Bayonetta Pay Dispute
A pay dispute has emerged around the upcoming release of Bayonetta 3.
Hellena Taylor, the voice actress who played the titular character in the previous two Bayonetta games, was confirmed to have been replaced by industry veteran Jennifer Hale a few weeks ago. You may recognise Hale as the voice of Commander Shephard in Mass Effect, Naomi Hunter in the Metal Gear series, Ashe in Overwatch, Samus Aran in the Metroid Prime trilogy, and a hell of a lot more.
Taylor alleges that Platinum offered her an insultingly low figure of $4,000 for her entire performance as Bayonetta in the third game. That was a flat rate for multiple sessions that could have taken weeks, resulting in a huge outpouring of support and a discussion over how often the games industry underpays voice actors for their work. (link)
However, it did raise questions about why they offered such a low rate only to replace Taylor with Hale, a record-holding actress who almost certainly commands a much higher pay rate, which led to speculation that this may not have been the full story.
This was followed by a Bloomberg story that revealed, thanks to multiple sources, that Taylor was, in fact, offered much more for her performance. As in, the $4,000 figure was per session, with a minimum of five sessions, a reasonable rate for her role. Taylor denies this. (link)
Obviously, this is all a he-said-she-said situation, and it’s hard to know what the reality is. It does make a strong argument for greater pay transparency within the games industry, however, as that would
New Silent Hill (For Real This Time)
After years of unsubstantiated rumours and hoaxes, Konami have now finally, officially announced that Silent Hill is coming back. (link)
Announcing a series of games in an event called the Silent Hill Transmission, five new projects have been confirmed to be on their way, working with various developers.
The big announcement was a remake of Silent Hill 2 from Layers of Fear and The Medium developer Bloober Team. It’s a strange choice, as their games have typically been walking sims or puzzle games with horror settings, rather than the full fat horror experience that the original Silent Hill 2 offered up. Will be interesting to see how this turns out.
No Code, developers of Stories Untold and Observation, have been confirmed to be developing an original Silent Hill project entitled Townfall, which remains fairly vague.
There was also a teaser for a game called Silent Hill F, a game set in Japan in the 1960s, and penned by visual novel creator Ryukishi07.
A collective of companies was announced for the final game project, Silent Hill: Ascension, as it involves J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Games, Dead by Daylight developer Behaviour Interactive and…uh…Sonic movie production company DJ2 Entertainment.
Also, Christophe Gans is working on a third Silent Hill movie. And considering how poorly received the second one was, that almost feels like a threat more than anything else.
Personally, I haven’t liked a Silent Hill game since 2003, so I’m not particularly excited, but it’ll be interesting to see if these projects can salvage the series at all.
EA Closing Down Online Services
EA have confirmed they will be closing down servers for a number of games. A lot of this is down to age, as most of these games are over a decade old, and in some cases the closures are minor, but other games will massively be affected by this. (link)
Among these games include the Army of Two games, Mercenaries 2, Onrush and various Command & Conquer games. However, while Red Alert 3 is among these, there are more than enough fan servers keeping the game’s multiplayer active on PC to ensure that you can still witness Tim Curry escaping to the one place that hasn’t been corrupted by capitalism. (SPACE!)
Also among these games is Mirror’s Edge, a game I absolutely adore and yet even I heard this news and said “wait, Mirror’s Edge had online?” Yes, it has online leaderboards for the time trial modes, but the fact I forgot they existed shows how inessential they are to the Mirror’s Edge experience.
Anyway, that’s important news that I didn’t just include so I could use pictures of Tim Curry in Red Alert 3. Of course not.
In re-release news, Persona 5 Royal comes to literally everything after its time as a PS4 exclusive comes to an end. It’s the excellent JRPG about a group of teens who head into a mysterious other world to change the hearts of those in power. It’s a stylish, in-depth and highly entertaining rollercoaster of a game, and if you’ve not played it already, you now have a lot more options available to you.
In smaller releases, Destiny’s Sword (PC) is a narrative game about managing the emotional needs of a sci-fi military, examining the mental tolls that war and peacekeeping can have on infantry. Harmony’s Odyssey (PC, Switch) is a cute little tile puzzle game about a witch and her troublemaking cat in a fantasy land. King of the Hat (PC) is a party game where every character has a hat that’s both their life force and their weapon, so you have to balance attacking and defending with it as much as possible.
There are a number of action-based indie game this week. Batora: Lost Haven (PC, PlayStation, Switch, Xbox) is set in a sci-fi fantasy world about a girl using a variety of powers derived from the sun and moon. Hell is Others (PC) is a horror shooter set in a horror landscape running parallel to the real world. And Nitro Kid (PC) is an 80s-themed tactical game about martial artists scaling a deadly tower.
Potionomics (PC) sees you playing as a young witch named Sylvia who inherits her uncle’s potion shop, and now has to turn it into a successful business. Featuring bartering mechanics that heavily modify card-based combat rules and a fun cartoony art style, Potionomics looks like a lot of fun.
Let’s be honest, a lot of Soulslikes tend to be dour affairs. The Last Hero of Nostalgaia (PC, Xbox) is here to provide something a little more fun. You play as a new hero to a dying land, a hero clearly ripped from an old ASCII adventure game from the 80s, in a 3D world where everything is out to kill you. It’s standard Soulslike fare, but this time with a satirical, playful feel.
New Tales from the Borderlands (PC, PlayStation, Switch, Xbox) is the return of Telltale’s collaboration with Gearbox, producing a fun side story in the world of the Borderlands games. If you played the previous one, then you know what to expect with this one.
Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed (PC, PlayStation, Xbox) is an asymmetric multiplayer game set in the Ghostbusters universe. You and three friends take the roles of a fresh new team of recruits, while another player jumps into the…shoes(?) of a spectre with the aim of haunting as much as possible before they can be caught. Looks like absolute chaos in a good way.
Mario & Rabbids: Sparks of Hope (Switch) is the sequel to the previous Nintendo and Ubisoft collaboration which turned out to be better than it had any right to be. Sparks of Hope sees Mario and the gang, along with their Rabbid friends, heading into space in a bigger, bolder take on the previous strategy RPG. Of course, Ubisoft are still a questionable company so bear that in mind before you give this one a try.
The big release of the week is Gotham Knights (PC, PlayStation, Xbox), an action adventure title set in the Batman universe, but OH NO, Bruce Wayne is dead and now a team of new heroes must take over. I’m informed this is based on an existing comic series with these characters, but I’m famously not into this kind of thing so I wouldn’t know.
Game of the Week
Game of the Week this week is A Plague Tale: Requiem (PC, PlayStation, Switch, Xbox), the sequel to 2019’s A Plague Tale: Innocence. The original was a superb narrative-driven adventure that made the most of its limited budget to become one of the best games of that year.
And now we have a sequel, continuing the story of Amicia de Rune and her brother Hugo, two children living through the horrors of the Hundred Years War and a demented horror version of the Black Death where rats devour people whole and can turn into grand fluid seas of carnage. This game follows on from the last game, where the effects of Hugo’s blood disease and the trauma that Amicia faced trying to protect him are fully explored.
Played a bit of this already thanks to Game Pass, and it’s more of what made Innocence so great, making the player feel small next to the force of the military and supernaturally powerful plague rats. Lots of improved stealth and combat mechanics and a story that’s promising a deep examination of the mental stress Amicia went through to survive the first game mean this already feels like something special, just a few chapters in.
And that’s all for now. See you again next week!