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Voice actor strike reveals unannounced games like Lego Marvel 2, Brothers in Arms, more
Voice actors represented by SAG-AFTRA union go on strike against game developers
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SAG-AFTRA, a union representing voice actors and stunt performers, authorized a strike against game developers that began this morning. As part of the process, the union has published a list of projects that members are no longer allowed to work on, and it includes several unannounced games.
While it isn’t much of a shock that EA Sports is already hard at work on Madden NFL 18 and NHL 18, listings for Lego Marvel 2 and Brothers in Arms were a bit more surprising. Though it’s not that shocking. While WB Games has yet to make any noise about a new Lego Marvel game, Gearbox confirmed the existence of a fourth Brothers in Arms game last year.
A large number of mobile games are also included in the list, as are a few that are denoted only by codenames. For example, Take-Two is working on something called “Alligator,” while EA is developing games under monikers as diverse as “Odin,” “Fearless,” “Scorpion,” and “Timbits.”
Finally, several highly-anticipated 2017 titles will be affected by the strike including Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8: Final Chapter Prologue, Injustice 2, and Crash Bandicoot Remastered. So hopefully the two sides can reach an equitable agreement soon.
Negotiations between game developers and the voice actors and stunt performers represented by the SAG-AFTRA union began in February 2015, but after more than 18 months of discussions, the two sides appear no closer to an agreement. Because of the impasse, and to protest against a contract they believe is decades out of date, the members of the union went on strike this morning.
“SAG-AFTRA has gone to the negotiations table with serious concerns affecting voiceover and stunt performers,” said Ray Rodriguez, the Chief Contracts Officer for SAG-AFTRA. “It’s time for video game employers to take our concerns seriously and negotiate a modern contract based on actor safety, industry precedent and best practices.”
This strike won’t affect all developers, and currently only applies to games that went into production after February 17, 2015 at Activision, Electronic Arts, Insomniac Games, Take-Two Interactive, and WB Games. However, the strike also extends to several independent vocal production studios that do a lot of contract work with the big publishers.
The game developers are offering an immediate 9% salary hike for all performers, and “additional compensation” depending on the number of recording sessions. However, the union’s demands for better working conditions went unmentioned in a statement from the Chief Negotiator for the game developers.
The SAG-AFTRA union plans to push the game developers for a better deal over the next few weeks, and their first order of business is encouraging all members to join a picket line in front of EA’s headquarters this Monday, October 24.
Telltale Games has announced that Batman: The Telltale Series will continue this month with the upcoming launch of Episode 3: New World Order on October 25. Episode 3 will be available to download for the PC, PS4, and Xbox One, and it looks like it’ll add a new set of wrinkles to the lives of Batman, The Penguin, Harvey Dent, and Selina Kyle:
In Episode 3, Penguin’s brutal attack broadcast on live TV has left Gotham City reeling. As Bruce and Batman, you’ll dig deeper into the web of intrigue surrounding the newly revealed Children of Arkham. Meanwhile, behind closed doors, the mysterious Selina Kyle reveals more of herself to Bruce. And in the aftermath of the attack, Bruce’s friend and Gotham’s new mayor, Harvey Dent, is a deeply changed man. Who can be trusted when the future of Bruce Wayne – and the Batman – could be determined by the flip of a coin?
Batman: The Telltale Series – Episode 3: New World Order will also be released for the PS3, Xbox 360, and mobile devices, but a release date will be announced at a later date.
After Pokemon Go became an instant phenomenon, I was honestly expecting to read about a slew of upcoming augment reality games. But Magicland is the first I have seen, and while it could be accused of riffing on Niantic’s catch ‘em all game, it has more in common with other, more divisive titles like Spore and No Man’s Sky. It may be a little rough around the edges, but any game that might enthrall kids and get them outside playing could be a good thing.
Let’s go exploring! (more…)
There are lots of novels based on Minecraft on the shelves at your local bookstore, but Mojang has announced they’ve partnered with Max Brooks to produce a series of official novels based on the blockbuster game.
Brooks is best known as the author of World War Z, an “Oral History of the Zombie War” that was recently adapted into a movie starring Brad Pitt. But Brooks is also the author of The Harlem Hellfighters (which features many of the same events and people as this Fall’s Battlefield 1) and The Zombie Survival Guide. He’s also the son of legendary parodist Mel Brooks and Oscar-winning actress Anne Bancroft.
The first novel will be titled Minecraft: The Island, and according to Mojang Blog, readers should expect “cuboid Robinson Crusoe, but madder: a hero stranded in an unfamiliar land, with unfamiliar rules, learning to survive against tremendous odds.”
“I’m very excited to be part of this new venture,” Brooks said. “Finally I can justify all those hours I’ve spent playing Minecraft.”
“From our first meeting with Max, we knew he would be a perfect fit for our first foray into novels based on Minecraft,” said Lydia Winters, the Brand Director at Mojang. “His enthusiasm and understanding of all things related to the game bring out the sense of wonder and possibility that so many players love about Minecraft… ourselves included.”
We don’t know when Minecraft: The Island will be released, but we do know it’ll be published by Del Rey Books.
Let me start out by saying that Crashlands is not my kind of game. Resource collection and building, even when accompanied by quests, just don’t draw me in. But St. Louis-based Butterscotch Shenanigans has done the unthinkable and gotten me to play a crafting game, largely thanks to Crashlands’ charming art style, delightful soundtrack, and witty dialogue. (more…)
When Shigeru Miyamoto stepped onto the stage during last week’s Apple Week, he joked that Super Mario Run could easily be played one-handed, freeing up your other hand to hold onto a subway handle or, more importantly, a tasty hamburger.
Naturally, Nintendo went ahead and actually made a video of Miyamoto playing Super Mario Run while riding a subway, eating a hamburger, and performing other activities…
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) September 12, 2016
Never change, Mr. Miyamoto. Super Mario Run will be available to download for the iPhone and iPad this December, with an Android launch planned for 2017.
Telltale’s five-part Batman tale will continue next week in Batman: The Telltale Series – Episode 2: Children of Arkham. Today, the developer unveiled a brand new trailer that seems to be pushing Gotham City even further towards insanity:
With Gotham City’s first family mired in corruption, and an old friend now a dangerous adversary, the life of the Dark Knight is turned upside down. What was Thomas Wayne entangled in, and why was he killed? Determined to learn the truth about his father, Bruce sets out to question those involved in Gotham’s criminal past. But which mask will he wear – The billionaire, or the bat? Huge decisions will forever change the Batman and the lives of those around him, as he meets the Children of Arkham.
Who are the Children of Gotham? Is that really The Penguin behind that bird mask? And could that pale, lanky fellow be The Joker? We’ll all get to find out together on September 20, when Children of Arkham launches for the PC, PS4, and Xbox One. The second episode in Batman: The Telltale Series will also be available at a later date for the PS3, Xbox 360, and mobile devices.