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    Reader Discussion – When Is A Silent Protagonist A Good Idea?

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,
    zelda4.jpg

    The debate has gone on for years, and yet it never seems like the industry can decide on whether your player character should have an active role in the story they're a part of, or keep to themselves like the good player avatar they are. As more games trend toward having their main characters speak for themselves but others remain steadfast on keeping players curiously mum, we want to know: is it ever a good idea to have a silent protagonist?

    Link is the first silent protagonist who comes to mind, and I can't help but feel his is the best case you can make. I think if there were ever a game where Link were a fully-voiced character, he'd be kind of annoying. Not "excuuuuse me, princess" annoying, but I think a large part of his character comes from how we imbue him with traits that we like in lieu of having a clear personality to cling to. As a general rule, though, I find myself rolling my eyes whenever characters speak to me like I'm Lassie.

    Do you prefer silent protagonists? Do you think there's a general rule for when a silent player is the best kind of player? Let us know in the comments.

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    AFL-CIO Treasurer Urges Game Developers To Unionize

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,
    gameworkersunite.jpg

    As companies like Activision continue to make record profits as they lay off large portions of their staff, the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations is calling for game developers to unionize.

    AFL-CIO treasurer Liz Shuler has written a letter, published on Kotaku, detailing an argument for why an industry facing overworked conditions, sudden joblessness, and the emergence of groups favoring the notion should work to unionize. 

    Shuler writes that the game industry, which she cites as one of the most lucrative "commodities" the U.S. produces, is built off the back of workers who passionately work tireless hours to produce works of art that bring joy to millions of players. "There’s nothing more powerful than throwing yourself into your craft, putting in day after day of passionate, hard work," she says.

    According to Shuler, however, workers are not being fairly compensated by this work, and argues that, regardless of game developers' passion for their chosen field, it's time they get their due. "While you’re putting in crunch time, your bosses are ringing the opening bell on Wall Street," she argues. "While you’re creating some of the most groundbreaking products of our time, they’re pocketing billions. While you’re fighting through exhaustion and putting your soul into a game, Bobby Kotick and Andrew Wilson are toasting to 'their' success."

    Meanwhile, workers face a number of workplace issues, including long hours in crunch time, a fear to speak up about better compensation for fear of backlash, and "toxic work conditions that push you to your physical and mental limits."

    Shuler call upon employees of game companies to kickstart their efforts to unionize because it won't happen without activism from the employees themselves, and points them towards organizations like Game Workers Unite, which are working alongside the AFL-CIO to help galvanize the industry into action. "Your fight is our fight, and we look forward to welcoming you into our union family," Shuler says. "Whether we’re mainlining caffeine in Santa Monica, clearing tables in Chicago or mining coal in West Virginia, we deserve to collect nothing less than the full value of our work."

    Labor issues have come to the forefront of video game industry talk in recent years, even moreso in the last few months. Last year, the Game Developers Conference had a swirl of discussions about the topic, while this year, a GDC survey revealed 44 percent of people in games work more than 40 hours a week, and a 47-percent majority of developers think the industry should unionize. A few years ago, the video game industry also saw a controversy between the SAG-AFTRA union strike and several video game companies lead to a negotiation between the two about improving the conditions of voice actors in the industry.

    Unionizing an industry as large as video games is no small task and is likely to be long road filled with its own difficulties, long hours, and late nights. But that doesn't mean it shouldn't happen, especially when the result could be better working conditions for employees who won't be fired on a whim and can get to do what they love and see their families at reasonable hours.

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    SNK Heroines Heads To Steam Next Week

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,
    snkheroinesgameplay.jpg

    Tag-team fighter/dress-up game most of its characters look uncomfortable to be a part of SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy will be heading to Steam next week.

    The game will head to the PC platform on February 21, SNK announced the news at this year's Evo Japan. Though no trailer for the game is officially available online as of this writing, a fan attending the event was able to capture off-screen footage of a trailer playing at Evo Japan making the announcement. We expect a full announcement with more details to come at a later date.

    SNK Heroines features several women from across the SNK catalog of games, as well as Terry Bogard and Skullolady.

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    Hasbro Announces Overwatch Ultimates Toy Line

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,
    overwatchultimatestoys.jpg

    Following up on its tease earlier this week, Hasbro has announced a line of Overwatch-themed action figures, unveiling the first line featuring nine characters who aren't Roadhog.

    The trailer of the line is short and sweet except for not including Roadhog, giving each of the figures in the line a quick once-over. The characters in the line are:

    • Blackwatch Reyes (Reaper)
    • Lucio
    • Mercy and Pharah Dual Pack
    • Reinhardt
    • Shrike Ana and Solider 76 Dual Pack
    • Sombra
    • Tracer
    • Again, not Roadhog

    Click here to watch embedded media

    The figures retail for $22.99 for single figures, and $49.99 for dual packs (which don't look like they're available separately). If you're Reinhardt main, however, you'll have to pay $49.99 for the extra-large figure. If you're a Roadhog main, not being able to buy a figure of your favorite character is free. You can browse and purchase the entire first series here.

    Disclosure: GameStop is the parent company of Game Informer.

    Click image thumbnails to view larger version

    189027b1.jpg overwatchultimatesana76.jpg overwatchultimateslucio.jpg overwatchultimatespharmercy.jpg overwatchultimatesreinhardt.jpg overwatchultimatessombra.jpg

     

                                                                                                                

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    Dota Auto Chess Is The Fourth Most Popular Game On Steam, Reaches Over Four Million Players

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,
    autochess.jpg

    Dota Auto Chess, a custom game inside Dota 2, continues experiencing enormous success, garnering a playerbase much larger than most games on Steam.

    The game recently surpassed a brand-new milestone: 300,000 concurrent players, and is currently sitting at over four million total subscribers. This is a sign of the mod's continued growth, as only last month the game was sitting at over 100,000 concurrents and nearly 700,000 subscribers, according to esports outfit Team Secret's director of operations Matthew Bailey.

    This makes the mod itself one of the most popular games on Steam. If you were to rank Auto Chess on Steam's official player statistics rankings across all games on Steam, it would place fourth, putting it ahead of the Steam playerbases for Rainbow Six Siege (the game is also available on consoles and through Ubisoft's own store on PC) and Grand Theft Auto V (which is also available outside of Steam through the Rockstar Social Club store), and behind Steam exclusive Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, which sports more than twice the concurrent playerbase.

    Of course, much of this is off the back of Dota 2's nearly million-strong concurrent playerbase, but that the mod has seen nothing but growth in the past month bodes well for its success, as developer Team Drodo continues to update the game and makes money through in-mod microtransactions.

    If you're curious about what the heck all this Auto Chess business is all about, check out our recent primer on the mod.

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    Amy Revealed As Soulcalibur VI's Next DLC Character

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,
    Publisher: Bandai Namco
    Developer: Project Soul
    Release: October 19, 2018
    Rating: Teen
    Platform: PlayStation 4

    amyscvi.jpg

    Bandai Namco has announced who the third of four planned DLC characters will be coming to Soulcalibur VI as part of the game's season pass.

    Amy Sorel, who was first made playable back in Soulcalibur III, will be returning the to the weapons-based fighting series, the company announced at this year's Evo Japan. Sporting a rapier-wielding style similar to her adopted father Raphael, Amy has a few tricks up her sleeves, including quick mix-up strings, a rose toss, and a slide that can extend combos. You can watch her in action in the Japanese-language trailer below.

    Click here to watch embedded media

    The announcement seems to give credence to a leak from data-mined info from late last year that could mean Cassandra will be the next DLC character, as that leak showed that both she and Amy were in the game's config file. Hopefully, that'll the case.

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