Square Enix Cancels Tourney Over Death Threats
Last September 30 emails were sent to the offices of Square Enix which simply contained the Japanese word for ‘kill’. Back in April of this year a 25 year old nursing care worker was arrested for issuing angry death threats to Square Enix employees after spending US $1800 on loot boxes to obtain a specific item, only to still fail in obtaining it. Last week a 40 year old man was arrested for threatening Square Enix with a repeat of the tragedy that befell KyoAni. Now just this week there was supposed to be a Starwing Paradox tourney held in arcades across Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya, and Fukuoka over the next two weekends – only Square Enix had to cancel the event after a spate of death threats were issued against the game’s management team.
Japan is pretty much the most polite country in the world – so then what is it about Square Enix which engenders this response time and again over such a short period of time? All of these threats seem to have been issued against different games and divisions within Square Enix, but then what is it about Square Enix which makes the usually polite people of Japan feel like they can casually issue death threats against its employees? It seems to this author that Square Enix must be widely viewed as the EA of Japan by the company’s domestic audience – else none of this behaviour makes any kind of sense. Either the Japanese society has fallen precipitously over the course of the last year, else Square Enix is fast becoming the exception to the rule, as an entity no longer deserving of basic civility in the eyes of the people.
An Ominous Week for Die-o-Ware!
On this week’s podcast the panel discussed the fact that Ben Irving, the lead producer of Anthem, had just announced his departure from BioWare. This came as no great surprise. Anthem was a terrible bomb for BioWare, and at this point the playerbase has dwindled to such an extent that any positive reception to a content fix would have to be received pretty bigly indeed for it to even move the needle. Anthem only got a scant three indirect mentions in EA’s most recent earnings call, and in all likelihood Irving is now leaving the company because all work on the game has now ceased – so definitely no surprise to see him gone.
The bigger news for the week is that within days of Ben Irving resigning from BioWare, Fernando Melo also handed in his resignation.
To be clear, this is my own decision. I’ve been wanting to take some time to disconnect and explore a couple ideas for next chapter in my career.
Melo has been serving as the lead producer of Dragon Age 4, which is only a year into development. If this sounds familiar, then it should, because it is the story of Anthem’s development. The lead development positions were a game of musical chairs, as senior developers quit left and right, and had to be replaced. Now the same thing is happening with Dragon Age 4. Dragon Age 4 is going to be a disaster, and BioWare is finished. The chickens are coming home to roost, and the rats are fleeing the sinking ship. The only employees who are committed to remaining at BioWare are the ones who will struggle to find work once BioWare goes under.
Gearbox Bans Wrongthink Criminals
It is almost as if someone has double-dared Randy Pitchford to tank Borderlands 3 before it even releases. First Randy Pitchford proudly tweeted a video clip of animal abuse, wherein a person deliberately attempted to injure a cat because they thought it was funny – great PR! Next up TDT brought you the news last week that Gearbox had hired a couple of goons to go and intimidate a YouTuber for reporting on publicly available information – great PR! Now just this week Gearbox are banning people for not using the preferred pronouns of Borderlands 3’s tranny robot, Fl4k. Great PR!
Gearbox has stated that Fl4k’s pronouns are they/them, and that anyone who ‘misgenders’ him in the Gearbox forums will be banned. The tranny thing is a very obvious virtue signal, which only seems to have been put into place within the last couple of months. Up until a few months ago the game’s developers were talking about Fl4k using he/him pronouns, and the game’s official character guide (released just this week) also referred to him as being a ‘he’:
One of the strongest early game builds for FL4K, I personally think, is using his Fade Away skill with the modification that allows unlimited shots while cloaked. Pair that with the Jakobs manufacturer perk of every critical shot ricochets to another enemy, and you’ll have high powered bullets bouncing everywhere.
Right now it is just Gearbox forum goers who are being banned for ‘misgendering’ the robot, but it really does not stretch the imagination to conceive of a situation wherein Gearbox starts to ban players for ‘misgendering’ the robot during online play – especially since Blizzard have already set the bar in this respect. Anyone planning on picking up Borderlands 3 would be well advised to be up on their social justice pronouns, else risk losing access to their game.