Hello! Welcome to the latest Geeky Brummie Gaming Roundup!
This week, Ubisoft have a bridge to sell you
Not Financially Trustworthy
Not content with protecting sexual predators for years, Ubisoft now wish to assault the planet and gullible people’s wallets too, as they have announced a platform to sell NFTs.
For those not in the know, NFTs, or non-fungible tokens if you don’t like acronyms, are a pyramid scheme masquerading as digital art dealership. It’s a system that allows you to buy a receipt to a link of a jpeg of an AI-generated parody of a Jamie Hewlett monkey for obscene amounts of money, while burning down a rainforest as part of the transaction. A market that sustains itself by selling these receipts on forever for overinflated prices. For more on why you should dislike them, please consult this thread from an Activision dev.
Side note: the header image for this article uses one of these monkeys, which I obtained by simply right-clicking and saving at the great cost of £0.00, if you’re wondering what the true value of them is. However, if you would like to purchase a screengrab of a txt document saying you own “NFT Ape With Iconic Ubisoft Hat”, please feel free to send me vast sums of cash. It’s basically the same idea.
What Ubisoft intends to do with NFTs is, to put it simply, microtransactions. Ubisoft want to sell you “unique” in-game items, verified by a pointless serial number to show how “unique” they are. They’re called Digits, and honestly, just writing this is making me scowl furiously as I type. NFTs are bad, microtransactions are bad, and anyone buying into this is an idiot. This may not be an objective way of talking about this, but I’ve yet to see a single justification for why we need this technology at all, let alone in our games.
Good news is, everyone already hates Digits, as the trailer announcing this multi-level marketing scam for Hardcore Gamerz is now one of the final YouTube videos to get disliked into the stratosphere (before YouTube hide the dislike count in the coming weeks). The video has been unlisted but the damage has been done. They’re not reversing their plan to release it in the PC version of newest Ghost Recon though, there’s still money to be scammed out of people.
This is only the beginning of the AAA gaming space adopting this bafflingly awful technology but let’s also hope it’s not too far from the end either.
Activision Are Still Activision
Speaking of companies that have protected and enabled sexual predators for years, Activision Blizzard are in even more trouble this week, as they’ve engaged in their second favourite activity after all the sexual assault – laying off workers despite massive profits. And just before Christmas too. Classy.
Last Friday, Activision fired 12 people from the QA department at Raven Software, a co-developer on many Call of Duty titles. Some of these staff had recently relocated to Wisconsin, where the studio is based, in anticipation of returning to in-person work. They received no financial assistance from the studio but did receive reassurances their contracts would continue. Which they obviously have not.
And in response, at least 200 people from across the company went on strike to demand these workers be reinstated as full-time employees (instead of their previous contract roles) and to demand better job security in general. It’s the third strike Activision employees have enacted since July, following the allegations about sexual abuse and CEO Bobby Kotick’s role in it. Just think about how often I’ve used the picture above these past few months and that should give you an idea of the scale of this.
The workers are also currently crowdfunding while the strike continues, as they work towards forming a formal union. We wish them the best of luck, and encourage you to donate to the GoFundMe if you can.
Here’s a quick run-down of some of the week’s smaller releases, all on PC. Wolfstride is a mech-based RPG with a lot of anime influence. After the Fall is a VR take on the Left 4 Dead formula, as you blast hordes of zombies with friends. Breakwaters is a survival/crafting game with shifting tides and water levels at the heart of its mechanics. And KEO is a post-apocalyptic vehicular combat game with chunky custom vehicles.
In addition to those releases, there’s also White Shadows (PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S), a debut indie platformer with more than a little influence from the likes of Oddworld and Limbo. Featuring a lovingly-rendered monochrome world and a story full of political satire, this game should be worth checking out.
The big game of the week is, of course, Halo Infinite (PC, Xbox), the latest in Microsoft’s flagship first-party shooter franchise. One which I honestly know next to nothing about, but I’ll give it a go anyway. Master Chief is back, doing whatever it is he does, and there’s a whole multiplayer mode available as a free-to-play extra that attempts to bring back the classic feeling of the series. Look, if you’re a lot more into Halo than I am, you already know all about this one. It’s out now. Have fun!
Game of the Week
Heavenly Bodies (PC, PlayStation) is a physics-based game set in space. Set on a 1970s space station, you control a cosmonaut as they maintain the station as best as they can. Oh, and with no gravity things can get a little tricky.
You control the arms and legs of your character as you try and grab and kick your way through weightlessness, which judging by the trailer, looks like a lot of flopping around helplessly.
Heavenly Bodies looks like ludicrous nonsense and for the comedy value alone I have to make it Game of the Week.
And that’s all for now. See you again next week for the final Gaming Roundup of the year, where I’ll be covering all the news from The Game Awards!