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…

Florence Lowe Barnes was a person who defined herself in polar opposites. Born to the wealthy Thaddeus Lowe II and Florence May Dobbins, she spent her childhood in an expansive mansion nestled in Pasadena, California. Growing up, she attended the finest private schools in the area, and was naturally drawn to sports and outdoor pursuits. She became an accomplished equestrian and succeeded in athletics, but the story doesn’t end here for Florence, with her settling down and mingling in high society. In fact, it was quite the opposite. 

A stunt aviator, and one of Amelia Earhart’s rivals, Barnes gained her nickname “Pancho” when she was abroad in Mexico, sympathising with rebels and evading the authorities by disguising herself as a man. Upon the passing of her parents, she returned to California, and decided to become a pilot after driving her cousin to his own flying lessons. After six hours of teaching, she was already flying solo.

Barnes also ran a barnstorming show—where pilots performed death-defying stunts for attendees, like a “flying circus.” Moreover, she raced under the sponsorship of Union Oil Company, and broke Earhart’s world women’s speed record with a speed of 196.19 miles per hour. Her success caught up with her, and when her sponsorship expired, she moved to Hollywood to offer her stunt skills for movies. 

Barnes was savvy, though. When director Howard Hughes refused to pay the stunt pilots for his film Hell’s Angels a wage equal to their risk, she encouraged her fellow pilots into the Motion Picture Pilots Association of stunt flyers, and so increased their pay by 500 per cent. In addition, she encouraged the painter and photographer George Hurrell in his career, and, after he took her photograph for her pilot’s licence, he became one of the hottest names in Hollywood. I think she sounded like quite a character, and wasn’t too fussed about what people would think of her or her antics. Here’s the news.

Apex Legends crossplay will not include PC players automatically, says Respawn

“You will only be in PC crossplay lobbies if you have a PC player on your team. Have been seeing lots of console players worrying about this, but don’t. Everyone should be excited. So no more ‘not crossplay, PC is gonna dominate us’,” said engineer Jake Smullin, in a post to TikTok. Crossplay between PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, Origin, and Steam players is expected to arrive in late 2020. This will, presumably, include the mobile version of the battle royale, which is set to launch in the future. However, Respawn Entertainment has grappled with an accusation of “aggressive” working practices while in the pandemic. “The problem is not with the intent of Respawn’s leadership, we’ve got everyone’s best interest in mind,” responded Apex Legends director Chad Grenier.

Persona 5 Scramble is on its way to the West, confirms Koei Tecmo

The news was revealed in the company’s financial statements for the first quarter of their fiscal year ending March 2021. Under the yet to be released category, Persona 5 Scramble: The Phantom Strikers was shown to be releasing for Switch and PlayStation 4 in “the West.” More specifically, that’s North America and Europe, though there was no date attached to this listing.  

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is getting fireworks shows and dream islands

Fireworks shows will be held every Sunday evening in August, from 7.00pm, with sparklers, balloons, party poppers, and a raffle set up by ol’ Redd. Cloud saves will roll out with the new update; however, this feature is only for Switch Online subscribers. Last but not least, there will be dream islands for players to visit while they’re counting sheep. “Luna offers visits to other islands as a dream, and with her help, you can share your island as a dream with others too,” explained Nintendo. “She will grant those who share their island a ‘Dream Address’ which players can exchange and use to visit each other’s island in a dream. In dreams, nothing is permanent because nothing you do is saved, so explore to your heart’s content.”

Spookily sweet visual novel Necrobarista is getting free DLC this year 

Route 59 Games’ visual novel about grief, ghosts, and coffee hasn’t shut up shop in The Terminal just yet. “Maddy's story is finished for now, but if you were wondering about those troublesome teens Tuan and Hannah, or the secretive and sultry Samantha, or that guy from the OP with the waistcoat and cigar, wonder no further: we’ll be telling those characters’ stories as well,” said the developer. “Starting later this year, we’ll be releasing several(!) DLC chapters at no extra cost, telling side stories set within the Terminal featuring these characters.” Necrobarista is sure to land on my list of games of the year, and, like lots of others, I’m thrilled that there’s more to come.

Ubisoft’s King Arthur RPG got cancelled due to Serge Hascoët’s dislike of the genre, claims report

Mike Laidlaw, a designer on the Dragon Age series, was brought on board for a new project in development at Ubisoft, in 2018. Only one year later, Laidlaw had left, and the game was lost to the annals of time. Now, a report from Bloomberg claims that the game was an Arthurian RPG and was plagued with criticisms from former chief creative officer, Serge Hascoët. He didn’t like fantasy games as a general rule, and told the team that this RPG had to be “better than Tolkien.” That’s an exceptionally high bar, and the employees tried to appease Hascoët by adding and altering the game significantly. At one point, the game was a sci-fi jaunt, and at another it was inspired by Greek mythology. Hascoët wouldn’t budge, though, and the game was cancelled in 2019. 

Halo Infinite will “live up to the legacy,” says 343 Industries developer

A “flat” art style and a feeling of inertia were the most prominent criticisms of the Halo Infinite reveal in the Xbox Games Showcase. Xbox rebuffed these comments with the assurance that what was shown in the Showcase was from an earlier build, and the game won’t look or feel like that once it’s finished. However, 343 Industries developer Dan Chosich has expressed his empathy with fans who might have been disappointed. 
“I’ve been in your shoes. I know what it’s like to have expectations built [and] feel let down. I want you to know your voice matters [and] is heard,” said Chosich. “You’re not falling on deaf ears. I always want to live up to the legacy that Bungie pioneered. I personally care a lot about honoring that.” At the time of writing, Chosich’s statement had been liked by a number of 343 Industries employees, including the game’s associate creative director.

Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne remaster is like “rebuilding a shrine,” says director

The team was thrilled to be developing a remaster of the original 2003 title, following countless requests from the Megami Tensei community in Atlus’s surveys. However, ensuring that its content and themes are faithful to the original, more than fifteen years after its release, has been no small task. It has been like “rebuilding a shrine,” said director Kazuyuki Yamai, and more than 4,500 “elements” have been “fine-tuned,” so that they work effectively with the new hardware. Additionally, the game’s visuals will be “subtly and unobtrusively” improved, and a “Merciful” difficulty mode will be added as a post-launch free DLC.

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