Welcome back to another roundup of MMO (and MMO-adjacent) industry news!
Guild Wars’ art book: If you happened to read our swag guide ahead of the holiday season at the end of 2019, you already knew that ArenaNet was partnering with Dark Horse to release The Complete Art of Guild Wars in time for ArenaNet’s 20th anniversary. The “oversized, full-color tome” covers both games in the franchise; it is still up on Amazon and still slated for release on March 31st. ComicBook.com has a few pages up for preview if you’re curious, though I’m betting if you’re a true fan, you’ve seen many of these images before!
Day of drama: Remember Day of Dragons? It’s the Kickstarted survival sandbox featuring, uh, dragons, whose launch was bogged down in drama between the top devs and YouTubers who accused it of being an asset flip, among other things. By December, in spite of the early access release of the game, the drama had turned into more of a war, as the studio behind the game began publicly banning critics for “defamation” and “reverse engineering.” Now MMO Fallout reports that one of those players has accused the studio of abusing copyright takedowns and is considering legal action (although as we type this, the original tweet about legal action is now gone). Wheee. Don’t touch this dumpster fire, folks.
Red Dead hackers: Polygon has a report up on the invasion of hackers in Red Dead Online. You’re shocked, we’re sure. Miscreants are apparently able to do everything from stealing money to “forcibly attaching a wave of animal carcasses to victim’s bodies.” Yikes.
Google and Blizzard, sittin’ in a tree: The Goog and everyone’s new favorite video game company to hate, Activision-Blizzard, announced a “multi-year strategic relationship to power new player experiences” on Friday. “Google Cloud will serve as the preferred provider for Activision Blizzard’s game hosting infrastructure and YouTube as its exclusive streaming partner worldwide, excluding China, for live broadcasts of its popular esports leagues and events – including Overwatch League, Call of Duty League, Hearthstone Esports, and more,” declares the press release.
FogBank is closing down: Last week, we wrote about Cold Iron and its owner, FoxNext Games, which Disney just sold off to a mobile company. Cold Iron, which was run by multiple former Cryptic devs and building an Alien MMOFPS, was specifically mentioned as part of the sale. What we weren’t sure about was the fate of FogBank, another of FoxNext’s studios – that was the one run by former BioWare devs like Daniel Erickson. Unfortunately, it looks as if that studio is being closed outright. One dev, Eric Parsons, posted about the closure on Twitter on Friday, suggesting that as many as 70 employees and freelancers were potentially affected, not to mention “outsourcing houses.” MOP readers will recall that just two years ago, we were all pretty excited about what the former SWTOR crew was up to over at FogBank, so we’re extra sad to see it dissolve.
I found out yesterday that my studio, Fogbank, is shutting down. After I regroup a bit I’ll be back on that job hunt. I’ve worked on cinematics, storytelling, narrative design in a variety of contexts on AAA, mid-tier, and mobile projects. Any leads are appreciated!
— Eric Parsons (@ericparsons) January 24, 2020
GDC State of the Industry: Finally, the folks behind GDC have released their annual report and survey of thousands of game developers, properly mined for shiny bits. Most notably, only a small sliver of devs are working on next-gen-platform-only titles; a quarter of devs claim their studio is lacking in diversity initiatives; and over a quarter seem to believe that subscriptions “devalue” games. (The question seems an odd one, given that we’ve had subscription models for various online games for nearly three decades now.)
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