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…
“From time to time I take books I can’t stand or from authors I want to annoy and make: sausages c. 40 cm long, 8 cm thick, should end up as an edition of 50, titled on the outside, signed, numbered, DM100,” said Dieter Roth. An artist who constructed his pieces from organic materials, like cake, banana, birdseed, cheese, and rabbit feces, Roth was a member of the Fluxus and Maximalist art movements. The former emphasised the artistic process and thought it more valuable than the product itself. The latter is sort of self-explanatory, and centres around excess, instability and overtness in art. Using rabbit poo to make a model rabbit fulfils both of these descriptions.
However, today I’m talking about the Literaturwurst—which is the work spoken about in the quote at the beginning of this roundup. It is, in fact, a series of artistic works, where the “book” is cooked using a recipe for a sausage but the meat is swapped for a book or magazine. The cover of the edition was then pasted onto the casing of the sausage and signed and dated. Expectedly, it isn’t what we’d call a genius design. In the words of my boyfriend: “literature sausage is not only a bad piece of literature, it is also a bad sausage.”
Nevertheless, Literaturwurst were selected based on the creator’s dislike for a particular book or magazine, but it has inspired me to think of other foodstuffs that could be used in such a way.
Replacing the cake in the Battenberg square could be a clever swap to hide a secret message. Or, a Bourbon biscuit filling could hold a longer string of notes or instructions, like a surreptitious sweet treat. Filling a samosa with paper would be too similar to a fortune cookie, and so it would be unsuitable for this endeavour. However, a pie (savoury or not) stuffed with a manuscript or transcript would be a statement, for sure. Settling down and slicing into the food, with a cup of tea steaming beside you, and finding your work enclosed in pastry. Here’s the news.
Two of Ubisoft’s most powerful executives are out of the company after allegations of sexual misconduct have led to a “structural shift” across its offices and workplaces. Hascoët, formerly the chief creative officer for the developer, is no longer leading the editorial team at Ubisoft, yet it is unclear whether he has left the company. Conversely, Ubisoft stated “the recent allegations that have come to light in Canada against multiple employees make it impossible for [Mallat] to continue in this position.” Mallat was the producer for Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, and was a key figure at Ubisoft Montreal.
Last month, a number of stories of serious abuse, harassment, and misconduct from Ubisoft employees were shared through social media. Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot has committed to a “structural shift” to “improve accountability,” and to listen and empathise with those who have come forward.
Far Cry 6 is set on the fictional island of Yara, which will not merely be a picturesque background for its more complex themes to play out. Narrative director Navid Khavari revealed the island’s inspirations and influences, in an interview published by Ubisoft. “It was clear that a lot of our fans were excited to go back to a tropical setting,” admitted Khavari. “We wanted to tell a story about revolution, and when you tell a story about revolution, you’re talking about guerrilla warfare. When you’re talking about guerrilla warfare, you go to Cuba,” he continued, and explained that the team had spent a month in the country, soaking up its culture and history, and meeting “so many amazing people.”
Ubisoft Forward also featured stylish new trailers for Watch Dogs: Legion, alongside some gameplay that showed off some of the “polish, realization, and clarity” afforded to the title by its delay. “So the most important thing I think we’ve done is added a lot more refinement to traits and the abilities that you find on characters in the world, and better ways for aggregating those into individuals,” affirmed Director Clint Hocking. “As a consequence of that, we have a lot of cool characters that kind of emerge out of these great traits.”
Watch Dogs: Legion lets the player step into the shoes of any Londoner strolling the grimy and glitchy streets of the City. The team have different classes and different abilities, so a Football Hooligan might rush in for an all-out assault, whereas a Drone Expert might scout out patrols sneakily and eliminate them with their gadgets.
In a move that most Deadly Premonition fans would have seen coming in their morning coffee, Hidetaka “Swery” Suehiro has apologised for the scenes in Deadly Premonition 2 where the story repeatedly deadnames a trans character, and refers to them with incorrect pronouns.
“I realized by pointed out from friends, I might have hurt transgender people in my scenario,” he said, in a post published on Twitter. “It wasn’t intentional. I am really sorry for that. Some scenes will be sanity checked by a team that includes diversity. And I will rewrite that scene ASAP.” It’s not known how many scenes will be altered, nor the time frame with which this will be achieved. However, it is cheering that Swery has responded to the criticisms and has shown willingness to learn and change his creative approach with new consultants.
Vachon Pugh moved to Sweden from Florida in 2018, and worked for two different companies while abroad before joining Paradox. Her second employer failed to pay out all workplace and pension insurances during her trial period there, which is where Pugh becomes unstuck. In 2015, Swedish migration laws were revised so that those payments needed to be made in her trial period. As a result, the “conditions for [her] previous work permit were not met,” says a letter sent to her by the Swedish Migration Agency.
“It’s a personal tragedy,” said Ebba Ljungerud, CEO of the company, in an interview. “Vachon develops one of our most popular games. It’s a difficult game to develop, and it’s a very hard role to find senior people for. We as an employer are also a victim of this. Even if we’re not at fault, and Vachon is not at fault, it still affects us.”
Mass production of the PS5 picked up in June, and the latest reports claim that the company “expects to assemble 5 million units by the end of September and another 5 million between October and December.” What’s happened for Sony to enact such a sudden and sharp change? It wants to capitalise on the “prolonged effects of the COVID-19 pandemic boosting demand for gaming.” According to these recent reports, Sony expects that not all 10 million consoles will be available for purchase in 2020, as a “large proportion of Sony’s consoles are made in China and sent out via sea around the world.” Furthermore, production of the DualSense controller is said to have increased, though it’s not known by how much.
“We started the Games and Online Harassment Hotline to ensure that anyone who experiences such abuse can reach out to us to get whatever support they might need, whether it’s just someone to talk to about what they’re going through or referrals to other resources to help them protect themselves or take legal action,” explained the organisation. Building upon the work of developer Zoe Quinn with a group of adjacent experts in mental health and social services, the Games and Online Harassment Hotline is just the beginning of a “network of new initiatives.” It will launch in August as a free, text message-based, confidential emotional outlet for everyone. “Whether you’re a player, a developer, a streamer, a competitor—any part of this community—we’re here for you,” concluded the nonprofit.
Geoff Keighley’s interactive “storybook,” titled Half-Life: Alyx—Final Hours, is about the development of the newest entry into the beloved franchise, and concludes with a section on what’s next for the Half-Life. Keighley suggests that the majority of Valve’s Half-Life team indeed wants to make another game after Alyx. The team hopes that it would be “a full-scale Half-Life game built not for VR, but as a game accessible across all traditional gaming platforms.”
Whether Valve will commit to a project such as this is a tough call. “We’re not afraid of Half-Life no more,” said designer Phil Co, and designer and programmer Tejeev Kohli revealed that “going from [Half-Life: Alyx] to a new big thing, which will be even bigger, is pretty exciting.”