Hello! Welcome to the latest Geeky Brummie Gaming Roundup!
This week, Ubisoft continue to be terrible, and Hideo Kojima is NOT a political assassin
Ubisoft Removing Access to DLC?
Seemingly content with their position as the second worst publisher in the games industry (the crown goes to Activision), Ubisoft have decided to anger people further this week.
From September, they will be shutting down online services for a variety of older games, usually games with online services released before 2014. This is standard practice as it’s hard to justify the costs of maintaining a server that only a hundred people are using, even if it is a continuous headache for video game preservationists.
The problem is, it’s not the only thing being shut down. Ubisoft’s list of games being affected by this shutdown (link) features a phrase that features on Assassin’s Creed III, Driver San Francisco, Far Cry 3, and others: “The installation and access to DLC will be unavailable”.
Of course, this sounds a lot like anyone who’s purchased DLC for any of these games now loses all access to it, presumably due to some check with servers that it’s all legitimate. But it gets worse, as initially the Steam notifications informing customers of the changes stated that Assassin’s Creed Liberation HD, the ported version of the series’ Vita spin-off title, would “not be accessible following September 1st, 2022” as a separate notice to the game no longer being on sale after that date. In other words, an entire game that people have paid for being inaccessible for anyone who purchased it.
Ubisoft have clarified that this is not the case and that anyone who has previously purchased any of these things will retain access. But the damage was already done, as the messaging was confusing and clearly reads like paid customers are losing access to a thing they’ve done. They could have made a mistake, or they could have tried to pull a fast one that they’ve had to hastily back out of after getting caught.
It speaks a lot to the concerns around digital ownership, where technically customers only own a license to play the game, and not the game itself. A great piece on VG247 offers a solution that publishers should relent copyright if they wish to remove games from sale so that abandonware sites can distribute the game instead (link), but this is unlikely to happen any time soon.
However, Ubisoft themselves have offered a possible solution to this concern. Check out their slogan for the upcoming Skull & Bones (link) and do what you will with that information.
Hideo Kojima Did Not Murder Former Japanese PM
Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated this week in a shocking attack during a speech in the city of Nara. Not news I would normally cover on a Gaming Roundup, until things took a turn for the weird shortly afterwards.
Some news outlets in various countries began sharing images of the killer, trying to link the attack to his “far-left ideology”. This included a Greek news channel, a far-right French politician and, allegedly, an Iranian news agency. There was just one problem. The Japanese man in the pictures posing with pictures of Che Guevara and wearing a Soviet hat was Hideo Kojima, director of the Metal Gear franchise and Death Stranding.
Now, while many of the Metal Gear games feature themes of political assassination, it’s unlikely that Kojima himself has engaged in that particular activity himself. At the time of the attack it’s safe to assume that he was likely watching Paddington on his home cinema or hanging out with Norman Reedus for some reason, and not in the city of Nara murdering a former PM.
It’s believed the fiasco began with a joke post on internet cesspit 4chan, and journalists and politicians failed doing basic research before repeating it to the world as fact. Kind of ironic spreading misinformation about a man who directed a game in 2001 about the dangers of misinformation in the digital age.
Unsurprisingly, Kojima Productions has released a statement condemning the misinformation and threatening potential legal action. Because even though it shouldn’t need to be stated, Hideo Kojima is not a political assassin. (link)
Developer Changes Talk Topic at Last Minute to Spite Crypto Sponsors
Last Friday, game developer Mark Venturelli was set to give a talk at Brazil’s International Games Festival on “The Future of Game Design”.
That was the advertised plan anyway. In reality, attendees quickly found themselves in a talk entitled “Why NFTs are a Nightmare”. Which was fun, because the festival was sponsored by numerous crypto companies who’d filled the festival with sponsored talks about how wonderful the blockchain is. He even managed to get permission from the festival’s organisers, who clearly were happy to take the Web3 cash and then run away with it.
Venturelli pulled this stunt to make a statement. He feels that there is no value in the Web3 scam (he is correct) and that they are simply using the festival to make themselves appear legitimate. Similar to how crypto companies have bought Super Bowl ads and billboards in Times Square, in fact.
His full reasoning can be found in an excellent interview with PC Gamer here: link
Spidersaurs (PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One) was originally released on Apple Arcade, but now comes to other systems this week. It’s a run and gun shooter with a Saturday morning cartoon aesthetic ripped straight from the 80s and 90s. Play as punk rocker Victoria or officer in training Adrian as they battle spider-dinosaur hybrids ripped from across time. It looks rad!
Time on Frog Island (PC, PlayStation, Switch, Xbox) is Animal Crossing with frogs and more adventure. You play as a sea captain whose boat has crashed on Frog Island, and you hang out and befriend the frogs while working towards repairing your boat. For more chill vibes, Dinkum (PC) releases in Early Access as you run a farming town out in the Australian outback.
XEL (PC, Switch) is an action adventure where you try and uncover the mysteries of the titular strange land using classic top-down weaponry and skills, along with time travel powers.
Mothmen 1966 (PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One) is a spooky visual novel with a million influences. A retro adventure game aesthetic, a story ripped straight from 20th century pulp fiction and the Leonid meteor shower of 1966. Looks curious.
Escape Academy (PC, PlayStation, Xbox) is a virtual escape room game, set entirely in the titular academy which trains new escapists. Each tutor at the academy offers up different flavours of escape room to try out, and if you get stuck, you can bring in a friend for some co-op puzzling.
Loopmancer (PC) is a 2.5D action platformer set in a cyberpunk city. You play as a detective who died during an investigation only to wake up again on the same day repeating the same investigation. The game features roguelite elements that loop the day with every death, and a lot of combat involving swords and guns. It looks incredibly cool.
Game of the Week
Game of the Week this week is Eyes in the Dark: The Curious Case of One Victoria Bloom, released this week for PC.
A roguelite set in a spooky manor, you play as the titular Victoria Bloom as she seeks to banish the darkness within. Her weapon is, of course, a torch, as well as other methods of stunning and bathing the monsters in light, which you unlock as you progress.
I was won over by this one on its artwork alone. Its gothic look with stark black and white contrast is a visual treat, and I reckon this one will be a lot of fun!