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The saga of Telltale's closure, which was done abruptly and without paying severance to its 500 employees, seems to be as episodic as the developer's games were when they were operating. This time, it looks like expiring licenses have caught up to Telltale's library and the games are likely to disappear from digital shelves soon, with GOG already announcing this to be the case.
In a statement on GOG's forums today, the digital distribution store did not mince words about what is happening.
"Sadly, we need to inform you that, due to company’s closure, all the remaining Telltale titles will be delisted from our catalog on Monday, May 27, 10am UTC. The titles are as follows: the Wolf Among Us, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Hector: Badge of Carnage, the Batman series, Sam & Max series, Puzzle Agent series, Tales from the Borderlands, and Strong Bad’s Cool Game for Attractive People. For everyone who purchased any of said titles prior to delisting, the games will remain in their GOG library."
Tales from the Borderlands, a collaboration with Gearbox set in the Borderlands universe and has direct ties to the upcoming Borderlands 3, has already been removed. 2K Games has told Eurogamer that they are working to get Tales from the Borderlands back up, but a number of other licensed products are unlikely to have someone in their corner to fight for them to stay up.
While GOG has announced this, it seems exceedingly unlikely that the CDPR-owned store is the only service affected by these expiring licenses. While Valve has not said anything yet, Tales from the Borderlands has also been pulled from Steam, meaning the store is certainly not immune to this.
This is only the remainder of Telltale's games that are disappearing, as a number of licensed titles like Jurassic Park and Back to the Future disappeared soon after Telltale's forced liquidation last November. If there are any Telltale games you wanted to get but never had the chance, now is your last opportunity to grab them or hope you can find a physical copy somewhere down the line.
Game Informer's Ben Hanson, Suriel Vazquez, Jeff Cork, and Kyle Hilliard talk about Cork's trip to Mojang to learn about and play Minecraft Earth and Minecraft Dungeons. Then Joe Juba and Javy Gwaltney join the show to talk about Outer Wilds and Observation before diving deep into the history of the Nintendo 3DS by talking about our favorite games like Super Mario 3D Land and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. In the back half of the show, we're joined by the vice president and creative director of Marvel Games Bill Rosemann to talk about Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order on the Nintendo Switch. After the credits on this episode, we cut together highlights from the podcast's long history of talking about the Nintendo 3DS.
You can watch the video above, subscribe and listen to the audio on iTunes or Google Play, listen on SoundCloud, stream it on Spotify, or download the MP3 by clicking here. Also, be sure to send your questions to [email protected] for a chance to have them answered on the show.
Our thanks to the talented Super Marcato Bros. for The Game Informer Show's intro song. You can hear more of their original tunes and awesome video game music podcast at their website.
To jump to a particular point in the discussion, check out the time stamps below.
2:35 - Minecraft/Mojang studio impressions
5:55 - Minecraft Earth hands-on impressions
12:15 - Minecraft Dungeons impressions
23:00 - Outer Wilds
26:00 - Observation
32:30 - Oddest tidbits from the life of the Nintendo 3DS
1:02:30 - Our top 3 most underappreciated games on the 3DS
1:14:50 - Our 3 favorites games on the Nintendo 3DS
1:39:55 - Marvel Games' vice president & creative director Bill Rosemann interview
2:04:04 - History of Nintendo 3DS discussions on The GI Show
Controversy sparked in The Division 2 community when it came to the game's raid difficulty. PC players managed to beat it five hours after Operation Dark Hours' launch, whereas it took console players three days.
Though the group overall is persevering, it is still taking console players much longer to finish the raids. The numbers vary heavily between the amount of PC players and console players that have completed them. PC currently stands at 7,000 while PS4 and Xbox remain under 200.
The community remains divided between players embracing the challenge and console players demanding tweaks. But the developers have no plans of touching the difficulty at the moment despite the difference in numbers.
The team recently had a State of the Game developer stream, where community developer Chris Gansler revealed, "We’ve heard rumours about us changing the raid difficulty. There are currently no plans to change that... We know the raid is harder on consoles, but we are happy with where we’re at.” They have also stated that though they are hearing the feedback, they make no promises to look into tweaks for the future.
Two weeks ago, U.S. senator Josh Hawley of Missouri announced an intention to bring legislation against video game loot boxes being allowed in games for minors. The Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act, or PCAGA, has been formally filed today and the text of the bill has been made available to the public for the first time, answering some questions but leaving a lot of wiggle room for many others.
You can find the full text of the bill here and a FAQ for it here. As it has not been formally read on the floor, it does not yet have a senate bill name, but it does have support from Republicans like Hawley as well as Democrats such as Ed Markey (D-Mass) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn). The bill does set out to do what Hawley described a few weeks ago, in that it establishes fines for any video game containing loot boxes or pay-to-win mechanics and even defines what those things look like.
From the bill's text:
(8) LOOT BOX.—The term ‘‘loot box’’ means an add-on transaction to an interactive digital entertainment product that—
(A) in a randomized or partially randomized fashion—
(i) unlocks a feature of the product;
(ii) adds to or enhances the entertainment value of the product; or
(B) allows the user to make 1 or more additional add-on transactions—
(i) that the user could not have made without making the first add-on transaction; and
(ii) the content of which is unknown to the user until after the user has made the first add-on transaction.
That makes logical sense for how loot boxes work. Pay-to-win starts getting a little broad, however.
(7) PAY-TO-WIN MICROTRANSACTION.—
(A) IN GENERAL.—The term ‘‘pay-to-win microtransaction’’ means an add-on transaction to a [sic] interactive digital entertainment product that—
(i) with respect to an interactive digital entertainment product that, from the perspective of a reasonable user of the product, is a game offering a scoring system, a set of goals to achieve, a set of rewards, or a sense of interactive progression through the product’s content including but not limited to narrative progression—
(I) eases a user’s progression through content otherwise available within the game without the purchase of such transaction;
(II) assists a user in accomplishing an achievement within the game that can otherwise be accomplished without the purchase of such transaction;
(III) assists a user in receiving an award associated with the game that is otherwise available in association with the game without the purchase of such transaction; or
(IV) permits a user to continue to access content of the game that had previously been accessible to the user but has been made inaccessible after the expiration of a timer or a number of gameplay attempts; or
(ii) with respect to an interactive digital entertainment product that, from the perspective of a reasonable user of the product, is a game featuring competition with other users, provides a user with a competitive advantage with respect to the game’s competitive aspects over users who do not make such a transaction.
In essence, this part of the bill is extremely broad, and seems to paint multiple grievances with a wide brush. Starting from the bottom, banning microtransactions that provide competitive advantages in multiplayer games absolutely makes sense. The part about anything that makes narrative games easier being purchasable is rather strange, however. In this instance, DLC that includes weapons stronger than the base game (as a hypothetical example, let's say Bloodborne's Old Hunters DLC) could be caught in the same net as a mobile game that gives you stronger weapons for a transactional fee.
Perhaps the most concerning part, however, is the part of the bill that defines what makes a game aimed at minors.
(5) MINOR-ORIENTED GAME.—The term‘‘minor-oriented video game’’ means an interactive digital entertainment product for which the target audience is individuals under the age of 18, as may be demonstrated by—
(A) the subject matter of the product;
(B) the visual content of the product;
(C) the music or audio content of the product;
(D) the use of animated characters or activities that appeal to individuals under the age of 18;
(E) the age of the characters or models in the product; (F) the presence in the product of—
(i) celebrities who are under the age of 18; or
(ii) celebrities who appeal to individuals under the age of 18;
(G) the language used in the product;
(H) the content of materials used to advertise the product and the platforms on which such materials appear;
(I) the content of any advertising materials that appear in the product;
(J) other reliable empirical evidence relating to—
(i) the composition of the audience of the product; or
(ii) the audience of the product, as in tended by the publisher or distributor of the product; or
(K) other evidence demonstrating that the product is targeted at individuals under the age of 18.
Despite all the caveats and walls, this is absolutely not well-defined. The text of the bill defines any game that targets minors as anything all-ages, anything with celebrities that are themselves under the age of 18 or appeal to people under the age of 18, any game with cartoon characters, or ill-defined music, visuals, or subject criteria. What it doesn't use as a definition for games sold to minors is any reference to the industry-regulated Entertainment Ratings Software Board, or ESRB.
The big problem here is that the definition of "games sold to minors" is at the heart of this bill. It is outwardly stating that loot boxes can not be in video games sold to minors, but this definition is so open to interpretation that most games can be included in this if someone squints hard enough. Which might be the point, an elimination of loot boxes and pay-to-win mechanics as a whole, but I am unsure that getting there through blurry and ill-defined passages actually accomplishes much good in the end.
While the bill has been filed, the Senate must approve a unanimous request to bring it to the floor or pass a motion to proceed. From there, the bill can be edited, amendments added, and the overall text discussed among the entire U.S. Senate.
This Monday, the Japanese apparel retailer Uniqlo revealed the winners of their annual T-Shirt design competition, with 2019's theme being Pokémon. The winner, Li Wen Pei with his totem Magikarp and Gyrados design, would see his design in-game as a wearable T-shirt within the upcoming Pokémon Sword and Shield. However, following news that Li had previously made the design for phone cases before the contest, his design has been disqualified.
The contest's rules state that submitted designs must be made specifically for the contest, which Li's design unfortunately breaches.
Furthermore, no other contestants will receive the grand prize or see their designs in-game. The second prize is still second, third is still third, and so on.
Netflix's Marvel era is coming to an end, and Jessica Jones will be its last hurrah. After the cancellation of Luke Cage, Daredevil, and The Punisher, Netflix has confirmed in a YouTube promo that Jessica Jones' third and final season will be coming in the first half of June.
While very few details have been shared about what is to come, Rachel Taylor (Trish Walker), Eka Darville (Malcolm Ducasse), and Carrie Anne-Moss (Jeri Hogarth) will be returning alongside Krysten Ritter as the titular super-powered private eye. It's safe to expect a trailer to drop sometime in the coming days.
Netflix has been cancelling its Marvel shows in anticipation of Disney's new streaming service, Disney+, taking over Marvel TV production. Disney has already confirmed shows about Loki, Scarlet Witch and Vision, and Hawkeye. More shows in the Marvel universe are planned for the next few years.