Category Archives: Featured

For comparisons sake ODST, Guardians, and real life Fillion. - Imgur

SAG AFTRA Interactive Members Approve Strike

With an overwhelming 95.6% majority, SAG AFTRA’s interactive division has approved a strike. Note that this does not mean that members are on strike, merely that the National Board has the authority to initiate a strike. If this strike occurs no SAG AFTRA voice actors will be doing any recordings for any interactive media company. SAG AFTRA members hope this strike, or the threat of it, will force major companies back to the discussion table concerning inhospitable work conditions, coaches, and secondary payment for blockbuster titles.

This vote is in reaction to major companies obstinate stance on contract changes, which include the capacity to fine voice actors up to $10,000 for being “inattentive” during a recording, and being able to fine agents up to $25,000 if a voice actor does not show up for a recording.

For the past week many voice actors and fans have shown tremendous support on Twitter, under #PerformanceMatters and #IamOnBoard. Some others have shown backlash, criticizing voice actors for doing “the easiest job in the industry”. The vast majority seemed to support the idea of striking, so it the result comes with very little surprise.

SAG AFTRA Interactive’s members seem confident that a strike is necessary to force major companies to acknowledge the work voice actors put into games. While there is not a strike at the current time the massive support behind the strike, obvious both in the votes and on twitter means the National Board will likely initiate a strike soon.

It is unclear what repercussions this will have for upcoming releases, but if the strike occurs and AAA companies hold out it may cause the release of major upcoming games to be delayed. You can read our previous article on the topic here. More information on the Strike Approval can be read on SAG AFTRA’s Interactive division’s website here.


New Call Of Duty Trailer Causes More Controversy

Call of Duty has stirred the controversy cauldron on more than one occasion. The most recent being the release of a new 17+ rated promotional trailer for Call of Duty: Black Ops 3,  in which multiple scenes of real life footage flashes briefly in the trailers opening sequence. The live footage includes a montage of explosions, riots, destruction and even natural disasters. The latter was footage taken from the 2013 Flooding in Rhyl, Wales. Now although live footage has been used in games before the key reason as to why it’s used in this instances feels…well, wrong.

Due partly to the context the footage is used in, but, more because of the reasoning behind using the footage. The use of the live footage, which shows real life devastation that caused severe misery to a lot of people’s lives, has been critically slammed by not only the media but also a large majority of consumers. Admittedly the footage used is for a brief few seconds. However it still just seems to be in extremely poor taste with very little consideration for those affected.

This also follows the nasty PR stunt pulled by the official Call of Duty Twitter account on September 29th 2015, in which the official page  proceeded to broadcast out a bomb scare. Yep, they legitimately  live-twitted a  series of fictitious messages claiming Singapore had been subject to a terrorist attack and the government had declared a state of emergency. Now although many people weren’t fouled by this stunt, it still caused a lot of distress and potential panic among many of the unaware, especially to those who are unfamiliar with the franchise. The tweets have since been removed.

Call of Duty seems to have had an ongoing trend of including something controversial within each game. It seems that trend has not only continued with the latest addition into the highly financially successful franchise, but has also been taken one step further by including things that are clearly only there for controversy’s sake to gain attention.

Yes, I understand that the PR stunt wasn’t the worst thing a triple A publisher has ever done ever. No, people fooled by it are not stupid in the slightest. The fact is, this kind of controversial advertisement for attention is just not on from any developer. Controversy for the sake of controversy to get your product attention is just down right gross. Hatred was condemned for its use of clearly provocative and upsetting advertisement strategies. Hatred did include upsetting themes that depicted something that was reflective of real world events.

However, Call of Duty is now doing the exact same thing but practically worse. The major issue with these kinds of PR stunts is not the content itself, but, the very use of controversial material for attention is mind-blowingly wrong. Call of Duty is a franchise far from needing more attention. Meaning it has absolutely no excuse to stooping so low just for publicity. On the flip side, if this was just a PR stunt that wasn’t thought through, then that’s extremely worrying…I mean c’mon, it was clearly done intentionally. There’s no way something like that would’ve pasted risk management. Either the stunt was astonishingly miscalculated or more disturbingly the stunt WAS in fact calculated. Also yes, I’m aware complaining about a PR move that’s intended to get people to complain about it is ironic.

Ultimately, Call of Duty as a franchise doesn’t need to do these sorts of things. When the game is released, it’ll still sell. What publishers need to realise, is that yes, this kind of controversial advertising does gain you huge publicity and attention. However, gaining attention in a negative way like a toddler having an angry paddy, especially when considering the amount of potential backlash it may have, is no way to sell your product. It’s just nasty and portrays both you and your product as desperate.


Halo 5: The Master Chief Lives

It’s been speculated since the last trailer for Halo 5 was released about whether or not 343 Industries could really kill off the Master Chief, as the trailer seemingly showed John-113 being squashed by a building.

However, in the latest trailer, seen below, revealed by Microsoft, we hear from the narrator, who I will dub Anon Commander Bob, that Master Chief has actually gone AWOL, but is officially “dead”. It is also hinted at by both AC Bob’s words and the glimpses in the trailer of Chief running that the UNSC believes he is responsible for the rising of the Guardians.

I feel like this trailer is set to possibly make the player connect more or at least accept Locke, who up until this point has had a lackluster time wooing most fans. While these two trailers do in fact set Chief to be the bad guy, I can’t help but see the comparison with Halo 5 to Halo 2. In Halo 2 you take on the mantle of the Arbiter, who up until this point has been nothing but a bane on humanities existence. (For those of you who do not keep up with the lore and just play Halo for a shooting game, the Elite we know as the Arbiter was in fact the same Elite that ordered the destruction of Reach, and who knows how many other Human worlds.) Throughout the course of Halo 2 and into Halo 3 the Arbiter turns from enemy to ally and ultimate aids humanity and Chief in their time of need.

With Halo 5 once again taking on the campaign with a two story approach I can’t help but feel like this is the case again. I mean while I personally like Locke as a character and feel like he could do great in his own story, such as Halo ODST did with the Rookie, putting him as Chief’s replacement would definitely hinder the series. The only way I could see them ever removing the Master Chief as the main protagonist would be to either move further or behind in the timeline (such as Halo Wars), or tell a different story that does not involve the Chief at all.

But what do you think? Can the Chief be replaced? Will Locke receive his own spin off, or another side character such as Buck? Let us know in the comments below.

Unfinished South Park Xbox Game Discovered


Oh my God! They killed, Kenny!

Footage has surfaced online of an original Xbox South Park game in very early pre-production. A Youtube video posted by an account named HappyConsoleGamer, revealed extensive footage of the game including: it’s combat system, open world, driving mechanics, and character models. It even showcased a split-screen multiplayer option!

It looks like the game would have been similar in scope to 2001’s Simpson’s: Road Rage. As of now, this is the only known copy of this game to be in existence. This footage can be seen below.

While the idea of an 3d, open-world South Park game on paper sounds promising, the game shown is far from finished. Textures are flat. Character models are rough. Even the ground and grass are still labeled. The video also states that the game frequently crashed.

It also looks as if this game would not have been an Xbox exclusive. While this footage is running on an original Xbox, the on-screen prompts show a triangle. Any gamer knows that while the Xbox controller does not have a triangle button, Sony’s dualshock famously does have one.

HappyConsoleGamer claims that the footage was acquired off of a Xbox developer kit purchased at a gaming convention in Portland, Oregon. This claim holds up as the dev kit previously had belonged to Buzz Monkey Software, a developer based in Eugene, Oregon. The team certainly has a pedigree, having worked on titles such as: Tomb: Raider: Underworld, Tomb Raider: Legend, and Tony Hawk: Ride, and likely would have produced a very high quality product.

It is unclear at this point what publisher has commissioned Buzz Monkey to make this game, though that would be fascinating to know. It is also unclear why this project was scrapped. It would have been interesting to see what this game could have been.


SAG AFTRA Voice Actors Threaten to Strike

SAG AFTRA has threatened to strike. The guild, which includes and represents performers of all kinds, has been renegotiating contracts with major video game companies on the treatment and payment of voice actors. These negotiations have gone on for months now, but have reached a point where SAG AFTRA members are voting to strike. The vote will require seventy five percent majority to pass, and from the support given by prominent voice actors it seems that it could very well pass.

SAG AFTRA members argue that the video game companies have been unwilling to negotiate upon various issues of work conditions and residual bonuses. The proposal has two parts which has caused such a standstill. Firstly is the issue of back-end bonuses. The proposal would have voice actors receiving bonuses based upon the sales or subscriptions to any video game they participate it, beginning when a game reaches two million sales and extending in two million increments until it reaches eight million sales.

The union argues that various other employees of major video game companies receive these bonuses. Activision’s COO received a bonus of around $4 million, and the executive chairman of EA Games took home around half that.

SAGR AFTRA has made the following statement on the issue of back-end payments:

“There is ample precedent for secondary payments across the media landscape. You get secondary payments when you perform in feature films, animation, episodic TV, commercials and the like. But that wasn’t always the case. Performers who came before you had the courage to fight for the residual payments you enjoy today, and, because they stood together, they won them.”

Secondly is the issue of working conditions. SAG AFTRA complains that the working conditions are inhospitable, demanding a change to the average work day of a voice actor, which at the moment can extend up to seven hours. They are requesting this is shortened to three hours at a time. Additionally, SAF AFTRA members desire accommodations for stunt scenes, in which they must use motion capture technology. They bring up the fact that stunt coordinators are required at movie studios, yet the video game takes no precautions during some of the more risky stunts voice actors may be forced to participate in.

Various other topics issues are brought up. Major game companies have made a statement that they want to be able to fine SAG AFTRA members up to $2,500 if they show up late, or are not “attentive to the services for which [they] have been engaged”. Companies are also asking to be able to fine the union up to $100,000 if their agents do not send them out to certain auditions.

This attitude from video game companies is the primary contributor to the strike, an unmoving position that they ‘own’ the voice actors.

Officially SAG AFTRA is on media blackout regarding the issue, however certain prominent members, including Will Wheaton from Firefly Online, Female Sheperd’s Jennifer Hale, Arkham City’s Tara Strong, and former Solid Snake voice actor David Hayter have spoken up on social media, voicing their support. Will Wheaton’s personal website argues for the strike, stating:

“I love the work that I do. I’m grateful for the work that I have, and I’ve been lucky to work with some incredibly talented people on both sides of the recording studio glass. This isn’t about making enemies of the other creative people in the business, be they directors, studio engineers, artists, programmers, sound designers, writers, etc. This is about a handful of extremely wealthy, extremely powerful people trying to take away our ability to make a living, to take care of our voices, and to be safe on the set.”

Arguments have arose online, under the hastags #PerformanceMatters and #IAmOnBoard2015.

Once again referring to Will Wheaton’s post, he has made a statement about the work conditions and the aftermath of voice acting.

“Don’t talk at all for the rest of the day, and don’t make any plans to go audition for any other voice work for the rest of the week, because your voice is wrecked. Don’t go to any kind of day job that requires you to talk with anyone, either, because you’re not going to be able to do that. Oh, and over years and years of this, it’s going to build up into serious and permanent damage … and then you’re not going to be able to work with your voice anymore.”

If the vote passes, it could mean delays in games released by major video game companies until the contract agreements are resolved. The union says they will only strike “if the short-term risk of loss-of-work is outweighed by the long-term gain of a better contract in a growing industry.” Any strike could delay games that are set to come out soon, either around the Christmas rush or the summer releases.

This strike is also notable in its capacity to extend beyond the video game industry and to other industries which utilize voice acting, including cartoons and radio, or set a precedent for those industries. Voting ends October 5th, 2015, at which point the votes of the affected members will be counted and the union will have its decision. It hopes the strike, if it takes place, will force major companies back into negotiations. When faced with the possibility of major delays it is unlikely major game companies will hold out long if such a strike occurs.


Nintendo Announce Star Fox Zero Delayed To 2016

It looks like Star Fox fans will not be enjoying the next chapter of Fox McCloud’s life in 2015. This morning on Facebook, Nintendo announced that the next iteration of  their on-rails shooter would be delayed until quarter one of 2016. The full quote from game developer, Shigeru Miyamoto, went as follows:

“I made a big decision last week. We have been developing Star Fox Zero for Wii U with the aim of releasing it this year. Although we felt that the development had been progressing well, we now believe that we will need a little more time to work on areas such as the unprecedented discovery that we want players to experience in the game by using two screens, and further polishing the level designs and perfecting the tone of the cut scenes.

“While we have already reached the stage where it would be technically possible to release the title in time for the year-end holiday season, we want to polish the game a bit more so that players will be able to more smoothly grasp the new style of play that we are proposing.

“To the people looking forward to the launch of the game this holiday season, I am very sorry.

Star Fox Zero is going to bring new game play and experiences that take it far beyond the framework established by Star Fox 64. All the members of the development team are doing our best so that the final product will not betray your expectations. And the game will not be delayed for a very long time – we’re aiming to launch the game in Q1 2016. Please stay tuned for further announcements.”

While this is not necessarily bad news for Star Fox: Zero, this could prove to be detrimental for the Wii U. This delay leaves a very significant gap in the Wii U’s  game lineup for this holiday season. The only other  major Wii U release planned before the holidays is Yoshi’s Wooly World which comes out October 16. Not to mention- that’s only in the US. The rest of the world has had that game since June. With this delay, Mario Maker coming out last week, Wooly World in October, and Zelda being in a state of limbo, the holiday season is not looking hopeful for Nintendo. Hopefully there is an announcement in the cards that will help to fill this gap.


Rumor: The Last Of Us 2 Confirmed

During a livestream showcasing The Nathan Drake Collection, Uncharted 4 writer Josh Scheer misspoke in a very intriguing way. He said, “All the facial animation in the Uncharted series was led up by Eric, here, and the first The Last of Us. Uh, did I say the first The Last of Us?” With there being only one Last of Us, there is no reason to specify that he worked on the first. Maybe his confusion was in regards to the Left Behind DLC? Nope. Animator Eric Baldwin goes on to clarify that he was not involved in Left Behind. You can watch this mishap below.

While this is not official confirmation of The Last of Us 2 being in development, many fans of the game have taken this incident as such. This is not the first time hints at The Last of Us 2‘s existence have been made. Back in June, seasoned voice actor Nolan North, who voiced David in The Last of Us, said, ” For now I know they’re doing Last of Us 2, but my character in Last of Us kind of met an untimely demise,”

It certainly would make sense for The Last of Us 2 to be in development. On PS3 the game sold over 7 million copies, with 1.3 million of those sales being within the first seven days of its release. It was able to garner 1 million more sales when it was re-released on the PS4. Sony would be out of their minds if they didn’t consider it a key franchise. The first game also ended with a very ambiguous cliff-hanger. While Naughty Dog is currently completely focused on Uncharted 4, they have been unclear on what their project will be after that. With a tagline like “A Thief’s End” It is likely Uncharted 4 will be the final installment in the Uncharted franchise- at least for a while. Hopefully, The Last of Us 2‘s official announcement is right around the corner.

Cliff Bleszinksi

Cliff Bleszinski Nearly Quit Video Games For Good

It has been revealed that Cliff Bleszinski, the design director of Epic Games between 1992 to 2012, said after he left Epic Games in 2012 that he thought he was done with the games industry and development. All was revealed in an interview with Destructoid:

“It was a combination of gamers feeling jaded, as well as working with some very talented people who were also very jaded. I could pitch the most amazing idea to anybody back when I was at Epic toward the end, and they’d be like ‘I don’t buy it.’ I don’t mean to slag anyone, but people get jaded in this business.”

Epic Games were responsible for some of the best video game series we’ve seen for many years including the Unreal Tournament series and the Gears of War series, both highly regarded as games that set trends and broke boundaries for the time of their releases.

After leaving Epic Games and staying away from the industry for a few years, he announced the end of his retirement and started a new development studio, Boss Key Productions. Boss Key have just announced their first game, LawBreakers, a free-to-play arena shooter that is due out in 2016.  Cliff also had to defend the “free-to-play” model of his new game.

“We’re still playing around with the monetization model. We want it to be positive. A lot of core gamers hear free-to-play and it’s like feeding a child asparagus. There is a bad reputation to it and I get it.”

He then went on to say:

“And we’re not ready to rule out the idea that maybe if you give us $20 bucks and you can have early access and then when the game launches you get a special pack that other people pay $20 bucks for. How you do free-to-play is unique for each product, and we want do to do it in a good way that makes gamers happy. We’re open to unique ideas for how we get this game to market.”

Warframe On PlayStation 4 Gets Echoes of the Sentient

Expanding the ever-evolving Warframe universe once again, the new Update — Echoes of the Sentient –offers PlayStation 4 and Xbox One players a wealth of new gameplay, environments and customizations. Players can move through the Solar System in an entirely new way with a completely overhauled Parkour system, visit an underwater world with new Archwing Submersible levels, master the new Equinox Warframe and so much more.

Warframe: Echoes of the Sentient

Primary highlights of Warframe: Echoes of the Sentient on console include:

New Warframe:

  • Split between day and night, Equinox manifests aggressive and defensive forms at will.

Player Movement Overhaul:

  • Experience a complete overhaul to movement in the game. Changes include the addition of Double Jump, Bullet Jump, Wall Latch, Wall Dash and Aim Gliding.

Archwing Submersible:

  • Explore new depths in the oceans of Uranus, smoothly transitioning from on-foot to submersible Archwing mode.
  • Encounter new and deadly Grineer enemies in unique environments and enjoy various game modes including Defense, Survival, Capture, Rescue, Mobile Defense, Exterminate, and Sabotage.

New Boss Battle:

  • Tyl Regor is back and is stronger than ever. Assassinate this skilled threat amidst the oceans of Titania, Uranus.

New Quest:

  • Is the strange drone scanning Tenno just an upgraded piece of Corpus technology or are there more sinister things stirring in the Origin System.

Warframe Archwing Submersible

New Tileset:

  • Delve into the depths of the Grineer Ocean with a new underwater Tileset.  

New Conclave Additions:

  • Daily Challenges: Earn additional Standing with Teshin’s Conclave by completing Daily Challenges.
  • New Conclave Maps: Apex (Annihilation/Team Annihilation), The Spire (Capture the Cephalon) and The Pit (Annihilation/Team Annihilation) are now available.
  • Conclave Mods: Purchase 19 new Conclave Mods through Standing from Teshin.

New Weapons:

  • Ack and Brunt: Tyl Regor’s custom axe and shield are how he likes to eliminate ‘frustrations’.
  • Grattler: Shatter your targets with explosive shells from this devastating Archwing canon.
  • Harpak: Spike enemies to the wall or reel them in with this automatic harpoon gun.
  • Kulstar: Rain hell on the enemy with this handheld cluster-rocket launcher.
  • Twin Grakatas: When one Grakata isn’t enough, bring another for extra firepower.

Warframe Kubrow Armor

New Kubrow Items:

  • Kubrow Armor: Outfit your Kubrow with new Rostam and Valinn Decorative Armor.
  • Chesa Kubrow: Trained to retrieve valuable resources for its master.

New Customizations:

  • Give your Warframe a new look with four new Capes, now available in the Market
  • Izvara: The exclusive garment of Tenno chosen to protect the Orokin Council of Executors.
  • Nelumbo: Worn to honor the Lotus.
  • Udyat: A flowing ribbon of silken fabric, crowned with a star.
  • Vanquished Banner: Add insult to injury by mocking the Grineer with their own banner.

New Utility Mod Slot:

  • Prepping your Mod Build just got easier; The new Exilus Utility Slot frees up space by offering a place for a Utility Mod.

Warframe: Echoes of the Sentient is currently available for download on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and has already been released on PC.


Sony Details PlayStation 4 Software 3.00 Features

Sony has released the details of what may be included in the next software patch for the PlayStation 4, and has launched Beta testing for the patch. While not all of the features may make it to the final patch, they will be available for the Beta, which has started today. You can see the list of all the features coming to the next PlayStation 4 patch below.

PlayStation 4


  • Online storage capacity increase — PS4 online storage capacity has increased from 1GB to 10GB for all PS Plus members. In 3.00 system software, you’ll see that we added a handy usage meter to monitor your available storage capacity, and a new Auto-Upload menu has been added to Application Saved Data Management.
  • YouTube live — PS4 owners will be able to live stream gameplay to YouTube. Live streams will be viewable across YouTube, including on the new YouTube Gaming mobile app and website.
  • Events — A new hub for events has been added, giving an overview of activities taking place in the games you play most, as well as official broadcasts. For instance, you may see an update for a Double XP weekend, a special enemy appearing at a scheduled time, or seasonal events like in-game towns being decorated for the winter. You’ll also receive notifications when the event starts, or if the timing changes.
  • Favorite Groups — Favorite Groups has been added to the Friends app, letting you quickly access groups of people you like to play games with frequently. This will make the process of getting a game session up and running even easier.
  • Communities — PS4 users will have the ability to create communities based around shared interests, like games, genres, and more. Communities include a message board with general discussion, screenshots shared by players, and the ability to join parties / games. If you want to tackle a big multiplayer raid, but don’t have enough friends available, this could be a great way to connect with other players who are looking for the same thing.
  • Sharing video clips to Twitter — Users will have the ability to share video clips directly to Twitter. Maximum video length is 10 seconds, though you’ll have the ability to trim longer clips.
  • Stickers — Tired of typing out messages? With this update, you’ll be able to send stickers to friends through the messages.
  • Now Playing / What’s New — The Now Playing screen will display even more information about what your friends are doing, and you’ll be able to quickly jump into a game, party, request a screen share, or get sent to the PS Store to buy the game your friend is playing – further enhancing the social relationship with your friends online.
  • Live from PlayStation — We’ve improved the Live From PlayStation app, making it easier to view popular trending broadcasts in real-time.
  • Request to watch gameplay — Want to view a friend’s gameplay session? Now you can send a ‘Request to Watch’ notification to a player, which will start a live broadcast or Share Play invitation to the person playing.

If you’re one of the lucky few who gets to check out the new PlayStation 4 patch, why not let us know what it’s like in the comments below?