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Computer Games

The shine of Nintendo's new Zelda remake for Switch is dulled by awkward controls


It's very weird to review a remake. Most of what could be said about a remade game has already been said years ago, and the time that has passed since the original game's release can have a massive impact on how the game is received in its second wind. For example: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD is a high definition remaster of a 2011 Wii game about which much has been said, debated, and lamented, but in the 10 years since its release the Zelda franchise produced one of the most successful console video games of all time. Though it is unfair to compare The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild with its upgraded predecessor, there is enough connective tissue between both games to make the comparison automatic in a way that only enhances the weirdness of reviewing it at all. Should Skyward Sword HD's faulty stamina wheel, annoyingly breakable shields, and limited potion system be judged on their own merits?

Is it even OK to play Call of Duty anymore?


For those who might have missed it, Activision Blizzard is the video game industry's latest out-of-control dumpster fire. The Call of Duty and World of Warcraft publisher is the focus of a new lawsuit spearheaded by California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). It caps off a two-year investigation which found, according to the filing, that female employees -- who make up roughly one-fifth of the company's workforce -- operate in a toxic, hostile working environment. Ubisoft and League of Legends publisher Riot Games have both been outed as havens for harmful workplace behavior -- including sexual misconduct -- in the past. Rockstar Games basically bullied Red Dead Redemption 2 into existence.

The Sexual Harassment Case That's Blown the Lid Off of Video Games' "Frat Boy" Work Culture


The company behind some of the biggest video games in the world is facing intense scrutiny after California regulators filed a lawsuit on July 20 alleging that it has fostered an intensely sexist workplace culture. The state's Department of Fair Employment and Housing is suing Activision Blizzard, the publisher of Call of Duty and Warcraft, following a two-year investigation in which it allegedly discovered evidence that women at the company perpetually face professional and personal discrimination. The disturbing examples span everything from pay imbalances and a glass ceiling to a drunken office culture wherein rape jokes and unwanted advances go unpunished. The company quickly denied the allegations in the lawsuit, but the scandal is snowballing. Both current and former executives have reacted with horror at the investigation, and a growing number of Activision Blizzard employees have shared their own troubling experiences working at the publisher--experiences that echo similar stories of discrimination at other major video game companies.

Activision Blizzard Staff Sign Petition Supporting Labor Lawsuit

TIME - Tech

Nearly 1,000 current and former Activision Blizzard Inc. employees have signed a letter calling the company's responses to a recent discrimination lawsuit "abhorrent and insulting." The new letter, which was reviewed by Bloomberg, was circulated Monday following a turbulent week for the publisher behind games like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft. Last week, the California Department of Fair Housing and Employment filed an explosive lawsuit against Activision Blizzard that alleged sexual discrimination, harassment and retaliation. In response, an Activision Blizzard spokesman called the allegations false and distorted. A subsequent email from Activision executive Frances Townsend described the suit's claims as "factually incorrect, old and out of context."

Activision Blizzard execs respond to harassment and discrimination lawsuit


The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard this week over alleged sexual harassment and discrimination against women. In a memo to staff obtained by Bloomberg reporter Jason Schreier, Blizzard Entertainment president J. Allen Brack wrote that "the allegations and the hurt of current and former employees are extremely troubling." Brack wrote that everyone should feel safe at Blizzard and that "it is completely unacceptable for anyone in the company to face discrimination or harassment." He noted it requires courage for people to come forward with their stories, and that all claims brought to the company are taken seriously and investigated. "People with different backgrounds, views, and experiences are essential for Blizzard, our teams, and our player community," Brack wrote.

Blizzard president Brack allowed toxicity to fester, according to lawsuit

Washington Post - Technology News

Brack has presided over Blizzard Entertainment, one of Activision Blizzard's largest subsidiaries and the maker of the massively popular Warcraft game series, since 2018. The suit, which alleges multiple instances of discrimination, inequality and harassment against women throughout Activision Blizzard's network of companies, focuses heavily on toxicity within Blizzard and its Warcraft development team. In particular, allegations in the suit state that former "World of Warcraft" senior creative director Alex Afrasiabi would routinely harass female employees at the company's annual convention, BlizzCon. The incidents were an open secret at the company, the DFEH alleges, and the suit claims Brack had "multiple conversations" with Afrasiabi and cautioned him over his drinking and being "too friendly" toward women employees.

California Sues Gaming Giant Activision Blizzard Over Unequal Pay, Sexual Harassment

NPR Technology

A lawsuit filed by the state of California on Wednesday alleges sexual harassment, gender discrimination and violations of the state's equal pay law at the video game giant Activision Blizzard. A lawsuit filed by the state of California on Wednesday alleges sexual harassment, gender discrimination and violations of the state's equal pay law at the video game giant Activision Blizzard. The video game studio behind the hit franchises Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Candy Crush is facing a civil lawsuit in California over allegations of gender discrimination, sexual harassment and potential violations of the state's equal pay law. A complaint, filed by the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing on Wednesday, alleges that Activision Blizzard Inc. "fostered a sexist culture" where women were paid less than men and subjected to ongoing sexual harassment including groping. Officials at the gaming company knew about the harassment and not only failed to stop it but retaliated against women who spoke up, the complaint also alleges.

These Astonishing Minecraft Builds Were Years in the Making


Minecraft, the best-selling video game of all time, has been around for more than a decade. The procedurally generated survival sandbox is constantly evolving, playing host to everything from speedrun challenges and political dramas to lessons. But it's best known as digital Lego-- and it's seen some incredible creations over the years. For most, it's a time-consuming hobby, but a few have parlayed their passion into a professional career. Here are some of the most spectacular Minecraft creations that took years to build.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD review – still a cut above

The Guardian

In 2011, when Nintendo reforged The Legend of Zelda around the waggling of a Wii remote in Skyward Sword, there was a sense that the developer had lost sight of the wood for the trees; that in focusing so tightly on gyroscopic sword-waving, the game lost some of the series' adventurous scope. But now that motion controls are widely accepted, or at least less pressed to argue their case, this HD remake seems more comfortable in its own skin. The hand-swinging sword combat benefits from the Switch controllers' tighter tracking, and new button controls accommodate players who are reluctant to shift from a horizontal couch position. Motion control detractors may claim that Nintendo is conceding something here, but this is still a Hyrule built around the drama of a directional slash. Slobbering plants can be sliced along horizontal and vertical jawlines, and the glowing seams on robotic totem poles beckon like the "tear here" line on a family bag of sweets. Swinging one hand to cut and jabbing the other to parry with a shield is powerful play-acting, and nudging the control stick can't help but feel timid by comparison.

Phil Spencer on the future of Xbox: we still want to take risks with games

The Guardian

Over the last decade, the concept of "games as a service" has revolutionised the way the interactive entertainment industry works. From the subscriptions introduced by massively multiplayer online adventures such as World of Warcraft to the seasonal battle passes of current online shooters, we're seeing a huge amount of focus on games that can sustain a lucrative community of players over several years. But where does that leave more offbeat ideas and concepts that couldn't support years' worth of play? Where does it leave the single-player narrative adventure – the blockbusting genre that brought us titles such as Metal Gear Solid, Red Dead Redemption and Mass Effect? It's a genre Sony has supported through funding the studios that make games such as The Last of Us, Spider-Man and God of War.