Hey guys! It’s Jon, back again with your Circle Roundup. This week’s Roundup is brought to you by turkey!
There’s a popular factoid about turkeys that gets passed around this time of year. According to legend, Benjamin Franklin originally proposed the turkey to be our national bird. This is actually a misinterpretation of when old Ben was criticizing our current mascot, the bald eagle:
“For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly. You may have seen him perched on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk; and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him.
With all this injustice, he is never in good case but like those among men who live by sharping & robbing he is generally poor and often very lousy. Besides he is a rank coward: The little King Bird not bigger than a Sparrow attacks him boldly and drives him out of the district. He is therefore by no means a proper emblem for the brave and honest Cincinnati of America who have driven all the King birds from our country. . .
I am on this account not displeased that the Figure is not known as a Bald Eagle, but looks more like a Turkey. For the Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America. . . He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on.”
He really hated that bird.
And with that, the Roundup!
Joshua Rivera played through Dishonored 2 and spoke with Harvey Smith, one of the co-directors of the game. Dishonored 2 is particularly because of its approach to level design, and each map is designed to be a unique experience rich with lore about the game. Or you could gloss over all that and it would still be a fun experience. Smith spoke about the difficulties of designing levels for both casual and hardcore players. Read Josh’s article here.
Samit Sarkar reports that Remedy Entertainment, the developer behind Max Payne and Alan Wake, is about to announce a new game. An announcement of an announcement. Has marketing gone too far? Remedy’s writer Sam Lake (who also served as Max Payne’s model in the original game) teased their upcoming game in a trailer named “The Greatest Trailer of All Time”. Read Samit’s full report here.
Dan Ackerman reports that Super Mario Run, the first mobile game to feature Mario, will be released on December 15 for all iOS systems. Read Dan’s full report here.
Jorge Jimenez reports that this year’s The Game Awards is doing away with glitzy promo trailers for upcoming titles and replacing them with Let’s Plays of live gameplay. In an interview with Polygon, Geoff Keighley, producer and host of The Game Awards, says that the decision was spurred on by the controversy surrounding No Man’s Sky. Before release, No Man’s Sky put out several trailers depicting giant, majestic creatures roaming rich, procedurally generated worlds in a universe of endless possibilities. When the game finally hit shelves, fans were disappointed to find that it, uh, wasn’t those things. Read Jorge’s full report here.
Austin Walker wrote about the results of the 2016 United States presidential election and how it has influenced the goals of Waypoint. No matter what side of the political spectrum you fall upon or which candidate you supported, it’s obvious that have entered a turbulent era in our history. The outcome of this election has allowed the darkest and most despicable hate groups in our country to step forth confidently from the shadows, emboldened by what they see as their Second Coming. In times like these, we could even be questioning why we bother to write about videogames when those of us who are marginalized live with real, tangible fear. Perhaps it’s useful, then, to reimagine how we see videogames, what we mean by “play”, and the strides that gaming has been making to make practical improvements to the human condition. Read Austin’s full editorial here.
And now for news outside the Circle. . .
Chris Metzen shocked the gaming world when he retired earlier this year at the ripe age of 42. In the latest episode of The Instance with Scott Johnson, Metzen revealed why: he was fighting for his mental health, and losing. Metzen was a company man with Blizzard since he was 19 years old. He molded his entire life around his career. When Project Titan (an MMO seven years in the making) was canceled amidst in-house fighting and controversy, Metzen began to lose faith in himself and spiraled into anxiety which eventually manifested into panic attacks. Listen to the whole interview here.
Esports and sports collided at the Overwatch World Cup at Blizzcon. Esports personalities like Christopher “MonteCristo” Mykles were rubbing shoulders with billionaire investors and hundreds of sports team owners as Blizzard announced its Overwatch League. I’ve been saying this for a while, but I still get a kick out of seeing the jocks buying up all the nerd teams when 15 years ago it was all the nerds buying up the jock teams. The Overwatch League itself is also modeled closely after a traditional sports league model, introducing the concept of localized esports teams. Watch more about it here.
The Total War series has games set in feudal Japan, medieval Europe, ancient Rome, Napoleonic Europe, and even the grim fantasy world of Warhammer. Now Creative Assembly is working on a game set in a new era. Personally, I’m rooting for something involving South Asia. Greater India has such a rich, diverse history that’s never been touched upon in games. Read more here.
Last week, Jonny Cruz, the voice of Lucio in Overwatch, uploaded a super cute video of the Overwatch voice cast having fun at Blizzcon. Someone went ahead and adapted it to an animated video because of course they did. Watch it here.
There’s going to be a Minecraft movie and Steve Carell might be in it. If you’re unfamiliar with his work, he’s the funny guy who way too accurately portrayed several bosses I’ve had in The Office and then went on to play a bowel flushingly creepy murderer in Foxcatcher. The movie is being directed by Rob McElhenney of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and is supposed to feature an ensemble cast. Read more here.
And that’s it for this week’s Roundup. See ya next time!