The Best Video Game News This Week: Deathloop, Fable, and Gabe Newell

It’s Friday! Or is it? Time is a social construct, so I could tell you it’s Wednesday today, and how could you prove me wrong? It’s Friday because it’s the fifth day this week, but when did this week start? Can’t prove that either, I’m afraid. Well, the calendar in the bottom right corner of the monitor says it’s Friday. Who told the computer that it’s Friday? Anyone could change that display in the settings. What I can say, for certain, is that events occurred and news transpired in this indefinable time period, and it’s been turned into bite-size chunks, here in the round-up…

What an insect the bee is. To be the bee’s knees is to be the fanciest person in the room, and to be as busy as a bee means you’re often flying into windows over and over. Does any other insect have such an impressive image in cultures from around the world? Wasps are angry and sadistic. Butterflies are beautiful but fragile. And the less that is said about earwigs the better. In fact, I suppose the bee and the human have one of the most wholesome histories in the animal kingdom. 

It’s difficult to pick a particular point to start the story, so I’ve picked a particular place. Beekeeping in Ireland is an ancient practice, and the earliest reference to bees are the Bee Judgements of early Irish law (called the Brehon Laws). These included the ownership and value of bee swarms, the compensation paid by the beekeeper to a person stung by one of their bees, and the compensation paid to the beekeeper if a person’s hens ate their bees. One law states: “The man who finds a tree with bees in a lawful green [enclosed land]: … one half [goes] to the man who finds it, the other half to [the owner of] the green where it is found.” It isn’t clear what is being halved. The tree? The bees? The honeycomb? 

Most interestingly, these Bee Judgements used no Latin loan words relating to bees or beekeeping, which places the beginning of the practice in Ireland before the advent of Christianity (430 BCE). Bees were also absolved from blame if they stung someone who was investigating a hive or attempting to steal honey. However, if bees stung “anyone going past them on his way who is doing them no harm or illegality,” then the beekeeper would pay the passerby “his sufficiency of honey…, with an oath from him that he did not kill the bee which stung him.” 

These were no petty crimes, either. Congal Cáech, king of the Cruthin of Dál nAraidi in medieval Ireland, was deprived of his possible kingship, in Tara, after he was stung in the eye by a bee, resulting in blindness. A bee! Depriving someone of a kingship! That’s why bees are where they are today. Their impact. Wouldn’t get that with a weevil, would you. Here’s the news. 

Deathloop is not your usual roguelike, says Arkane

“You are piecing together what happened on the island, who you are, and what you are doing here and how you can escape,” said game director Dinga Bakaba. “The way it’s a bit different from a roguelike is, imagine that I find an important clue, and I die just after that. Progress is still made. You might lose the gun that you found, but the story has moved forward. Colt now knows something and the player both knows something important and they need to act on this thing.” 

Colt, imprisoned by the hedonistic partiers on Black Reef, is hunted by fellow assassin Julianna, who will stop at nothing to ensure time continues to loop. However, even with this ever-present threat, players will be able to enjoy Arkane’s signature sumptuous settings. “The one thing we wanted to make sure is that it doesn’t mean that the player is literally on the clock in their moment-to-moment gameplay,” said Bakaba. “If you want to play very deliberately, very slowly, and take your time, read every note, look at every painting, the game will not punish you for that.”

Animal Crossing player reunites with lost Switch after police sent them an in-game letter

Mr Zheng, the player who lost his Switch, visited a local ATM and placed his bag on the top of the machine. Once he’d finished, however, the bag was left behind, and it was handed in to the police station in Taipei. There was no identifying information in the bag or on the Switch, so the police officer had to get creative. They asked other colleagues how to contact the owner through the Switch, and found they could send an in-game Animal Crossing letter to one of Mr Zheng’s friends to alert them to the location of his Switch. “Hello. This is the police station at East Helping Rd, Daan branch, Taipei City,” read the letter (sent on colourful paper with seashells and flip flops). “The Switch has been parted from its owner and was turned in. We do not have other means to contact the owner, so please help us and reach out on our behalf so they can recover it.”

Shin Megami Tensei V will launch in 2021

Announced in 2017, Atlus has finally been able to offer a launch window for the hotly anticipated entry to the Megami Tensei series. The new trailer premiered in the Nintendo Direct Mini, and it’s looking really good. The “profound charm” of Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne and the demon-raising aspect of Shin Megami Tensei IV have been melded together, with IV’s Kazuyuki Yamai returning to produce the new game. 

Ubisoft faces possible lawsuit from French trade union for harassment and discrimination

Solidaires Informatique Jeu Vidéo asks that “justice must be done” with regard to the shocking sexual discrimination, harassment, and misconduct stories told about Ubisoft’s offices. “The exclusion of a few prominent individuals such as Serge Hascoët is not enough,” it continued in its statement, and accused the developer of “[valuing] its profits before the health and safety of its employees.” With Maude Beckers, a labor lawyer who specialises in discrimination cases, the union is assuring “total confidentiality” for those who come forward with testimonies.

Valve’s Gabe Newell sets up concert to thank New Zealand for its hospitality during the pandemic

To thank the people who have looked after them, Newell and his friends have set up “We Love Aotearoa,” a free event and concert, scheduled for August 15, in Auckland. “These events are a thank you to the people of New Zealand for being so kind and welcoming, and also an acknowledgment of the hard work that ‘the team of 5 million’ have gone through to get us to where we are now,” read the event website. 

In the interview, Newell was evangelical about the generosity of New Zealanders. “We’ve continued to connect with more people and discover more things about New Zealand, and that’s made it very easy,” he said. “The hardest part by far is being worried about friends and family who aren’t in New Zealand. When I talk to people back in Seattle, it’s a very strange time. It’s very challenging. They’re very isolated.”

New Fable coming to Xbox Series X

The game, simply titled Fable, is being developed by Playground Games—the studio behind Forza Horizon 4—and was unveiled in Microsoft’s showcase, with a sparkling trailer that didn’t actually give much away, though it does have the feeling of a reboot to it. “Fable returns with a new beginning for the legendary franchise. Explore a land of fantastical creatures and wondrous places,” read the description. Reboot-y, right?

The trailer features a pixie, capering over a landscape that must be vulnerable to legal action from Disney, and, finally, being eaten by a big toad. At that point, the narrator says, “Not all stories have happy endings.” This seems to indicate that the new game will keep to its player-choice approach, in which the fate of the world hangs on your actions, and you have the opportunity to be evil, should you so wish.

Avowed is Obsidian’s next big RPG

The teaser trailer features a fellow with a sword and glowing—presumably magic-infused—hand, which is exciting. The teaser also featured flaming arrows, looming stone statues, castle walls, gloomy depths, and glowing caves. It looks like a suitably fantastical RPG, and Obsidian is a developer of respected RPG pedigree—people really liked The Outer Worlds.

The game is described as an “epic” and a “first-person RPG set in the fantasy world of Eora.” It looks cool, and, of course, it’s coming to Xbox Game Pass on launch—Microsoft’s approach is nothing if not consumer-friendly. There was no word on when Avowed would launch, but with Obsidian also announcing the first of the two story DLCs for The Outer Worlds, titled Peril on Gorgon, it might be a while until we can get our hands on it.


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