Author: Andrew Rainnie - UK Correspondent

In addition to being Warp Zoned's UK Correspondent, Andrew Rainnie is a screenwriter and filmmaker. You can email him at andrew AT warpzoned DOT com or you can, if you're inclined, visit his personal website.

Activision Blizzard to help veterans with Brass Personalization Pack for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered

Activision Blizzard has made a lot of money from its highly successful Call of Duty series, but behind the dramatic stories and Hollywood villains, a lot of real men and women have lived through what players only see.

That is why it is nice to see the company launch the Call of Duty Endowment (C.O.D.E.) Brass Personalization Pack for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Priced at $4.99, the pack contains in-game items such as a Player Card, Universal Weapon Camo, Universal Reticle, and Emblem. Activision will donate 100% of the profits from the sale of this pack to the Call of Duty Endowment, a non-profit set up by the game company to help veterans find high quality jobs after their military service has ended.

The Endowment’s Executive Direct, Dan Goldenberg, revealed the impact that previous packs have made on veteran’s lives and livelihoods:

Through our previous Personalization Pack and Calling Card programs, the Call of Duty community contributed over $2.1 million to help 3,400 veterans secure good jobs. Employment is vital to providing stability when transitioning from military to civilian life. Raven, Infinity Ward, Treyarch, Sledgehammer Games, Sony, and Microsoft continue to be indispensable partners in this effort, as the in-game program would not be possible without their generosity and commitment. We are grateful for their continued support.

To date, the Call of Duty Endowment has managed to find full time jobs for over 31,000 veterans, and aims to raise this number to 50,000 by 2019.

Posted in News, PS4, Xbox One | Tagged

Kickstart This! Apocalypse Now

I ummed and awwed over whether to cover Apocalypse Now as part of Kickstart This! I try to steer the column towards games that may be overlooked and are desperately seeking funds, but the film, and by close association this game, feel more relevant than ever.

All is fair in love and war, but crowdfunding campaigns are the perfect analogy for Vietnam. And in its day, re-imagining Joseph Conrad’s novel Heart of Darkness served as a masterful allegory for the souls of the men sent to fight in a war that history has shown to be a massive mistake. Though this is not the first time Heart of Darkness has graced the gaming world. 2K’s third person shooter, Spec Ops: The Line, also used the book as a basis for its story, and is worth checking out.

Apocalypse Now seemed to strike a chord with many backers, but with each passing day it looked less and less likely that development studio Erebus was going to reach its lofty target of $900,000. And then what happened? The developer cancelled the Kickstarter campaign after reaching less than 20% of their goal.

This is the message they delivered to fans as the last Update on their now defunct Kickstarter page:

When we launched this campaign, we made a mistake. We forgot that many of you have been disappointed by overreaching games and overreaching promises. We had stopped paying attention to the Kickstarter world, when we put our heads down and went to work on this full-steam about 18 months ago — first with documents and then with prototypes. Because we went upriver, we did not remember that those of you who love games and those of you who love Apocalypse Now would immediately treat the announcement not with excitement, but with concern.

But the men and women behind the game have not given up. No sir. They have relocated the crowdfunding campaign to the official Apocalypse Now website, and issued a rallying call to all those who want to see this game happen. It will be done on their terms… and with a much larger funding target.

Queue Ride of the Valkyries(more…)

Posted in Features, PC, PS4, Top Story, Xbox One | Tagged

SAG-AFTRA voice actor union holds another rally in Los Angeles as strike continues

With the continuing strike between the Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) and a cabal of 11 video game companies locked in a stalemate, the union held a rally in Los Angeles to help support the striking voice actors.

The strike, which has been active since October 21, is an ongoing dispute about working conditions and salary for motion capture and voice artists when working on video games. However, there has been little movement in negotiations on the matter, according to SAG-AFTRA’s Chief Contracts Officer, Ray Rodriguez, who said the purpose of the rally was “to get people refocused that the strike is happening.”

In addition to demanding better safety conditions for its members, SAG-AFTRA is seeking additional bonus payments for actors that work on a game that sells well. The union has suggested an extra payment for games selling two million copies, with additional bonuses up to eight million copies sold.

However, lawyers for the 11 companies, which include Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts, Take Two Interactive, Insomniac Games, Warner Bros., and Disney, do not see room for compromise. Scott Witlin, their Chief Negotiator, released a statement saying, “We remain disappointed that SAG-AFTRA leadership remains focused on outmoded ideas about how compensation is structured rather than the real dollars and cents that the video game companies put on the table.”

The contingent of companies, who have seen their premises picketed over the last few months, have proposed an immediate 9% wage increase, instead of a 3% annual increase for the next three years, which is what SAG-AFTRA is asking for on top of the bonus. The video game companies are also offering additional payments, which could be as high as $950 per game, dependent on the length of time an actor works on a specific title.

SAG-AFTRA Interactive Negotiating Committee Chair Keythe Farley said, “I can’t believe we’re still fighting for this contract two years later. I thought we’d be done by lunch on day one. I figured we were all eager to update the substandard, 20-year-old contract that we’ve been operating under and start fresh with a modern, industry-standard agreement that protects, and fairly compensates, performers working on today’s video games. The one thing that keeps me going is our members’ dedication and commitment to a fair contract. It’s the same dedication they bring to their performances, so I guess it’s no surprise, really.”

The SAG-AFTRA rally, which began at SAG-AFTRA Plaza and stretched to the nearby La Brea Tar Pits, attracted 500 union members and was joined by the aptly named David Ryu, an LA City Councilman. He offered strong words of support for the crowd, saying video game companies “need to pay their fair share” and telling the SAG-AFTRA protesters “you should not give in.”

Posted in 3DS, Mobile, News, PC, PS3, PS4, Switch, Vita, Xbox 360, Xbox One |

The Games of February 2017

Sometimes, we don’t agree on anything. Other times, we all agree on the same game. This month, we’re all in agreement: Horizon: Zero Dawn looks amazing. You’ll have to read on to see what else the crew here at Warp Zoned is interested in for the month of February! (more…)

Posted in Features, Top Story |




Warpback: What We Played in January 2017

January was cold, but our gaming time was on fire! We spent a ton of time on our backlogs, though some of us managed to play a few new games. Read on to see what the Warp Zoned staff did to fight the winter temperatures! (more…)

Posted in Features, Top Story |

The Games of January 2017

We’re all super tired from the holidays, and have tons to play in our backlog! So there’s not much that interests us this month of January. That’s not true… quite a few of us are into Double Dragon IV! Read on to see which one of us plan to pick that up when it releases. (more…)

Posted in Features, Top Story |

Warpback: What We Played in December 2016

We here at Warp Zoned were all about gaming this month! We played everything from old games in our backlogs to new games, spanning every console possible, including our phones. Hit the jump to check out our full list of games we played… it’s exhausting! (more…)

Posted in Features, Top Story |

Warp Zoned’s 2016 Golden Pixel Awards: A Look Back at the Year in Video Games

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In a very real way, the game industry wiped the slate clean in 2016.

After nearly a decade of development difficulties, Square Enix unleashed Final Fantasy XV on the world. Fumito Ueda and Sony Japan Studio overcame similar troubles to finally release The Last Guardian. Id Software shook off the past and was reborn after the launch of the fourth game in the Doom franchise. Blizzard closed the book on their failed “Titan Project” with the release of Overwatch. Naughty Dog said goodbye to Nathan Drake, but gamers said hello to altered realities that were both “augmented” and “virtual.” Nintendo found new kingdoms to conquer with Super Mario Run. And the launch of No Man’s Sky taught us that while the hype machine sometimes fails to deliver, the chance for a brighter tomorrow is always there.

But before we venture off into that great unknown, let’s look back at some of gaming’s highlights from 2016. (more…)

Posted in 3DS, Etcetera, Features, Mobile, PC, PS4, Top Story, Xbox One | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,