This week's highs and lows in PC gaming


Samuel Roberts: Space bucks

If I could get paid 5000 euros an hour to play games badly—which is probably what some people think a games media writer does—then hot damn I would, even if I'd probably be bored after a week because I enjoy writing just as much, and I don’t really want people to look at me on-camera for hours at a time. It was quite interesting to read the Everspace devs talk about this process of paying influencers publicly, which I obviously knew to be a thing and wondered how the mechanics of it work exactly.

"The most expensive stream, we paid 5,000 (euros) per hour and we had to book him for two hours," said Rockfish Games' co-founder Michael Schade. "Actually his opening line was ‘I have to stop playing Destiny 2 now because I’m on a sponsored stream to play a space game and I don’t like space games’." And the best part: "And he played like a complete moron… a fucking moron." 

Tom Senior: Be all and Endor

The requisition officer who issues Stormtrooper flashlights should be force-choked into retirement. The blasted lights can only stay on for a few minutes, and in the forests of Endor, a few minutes is all it takes for a toddler-sized bear to jump off a tree and spear you in the neck.

What happens next is weird. You die knowing that you—a servant of the greatest war machine in the galaxy—have been murdered by a miniature sasquatch. But then shame turns to relief, and then horror, as you wake up and realise that now YOU are one of the tiny blighters. Your crappy blaster is gone, replaced by a sleek spear and a horn that you can honk at Stormtroopers to scare them. If you’re feeling especially frisky you can try slinging a stone. What now? Report to your commanding officer and explain that you have morphed into a naked, hairy little alien? No, the flashlights flicker in the distance ahead. Your Stormtrooper friends are trying to reach their extraction point and the hunt is on.

In summary: the new Battlefront 2 mode is dumb, but you should play it and laugh for about five minutes.

Joe Donnelly: Walk 500 Miles in my shoes

I sang The Proclaimers at a faux-American Idol audition before starting a riot in a GTA 5 roleplaying server this week. I’m not proud of myself. The live footage recorded here says more about the whole sorry incident than I ever could in writing.  

Tyler Wilde: Hammer time

When we reported on the Warhammer 40K: Inquisitor-Martyr delay and the dev’s promise to “work 90+ hours per week” to get it out the door, we noted that the comment may have been a joke. It turns out that yes, they were being facetious—but the reason it was taken so seriously regardless is that crunches like that do happen. Something may have been lost in translation and I’m not too concerned about the remark itself (though it trivializes the issue a bit), but the industry’s problem with overwork does get me down. 

I’m especially disappointed whenever someone calls a dev “lazy.” A game can be bad, but unless it’s truly shovelware (I’ve seen Unity sample projects go up on Steam, eg), it is a guarantee that nothing about its development was “lazy.” That sort of thinking reinforces the idea that it’s acceptable for bad management to snatch away hours and hours of family and free time from people, and that if the game doesn’t turn out brilliant after that crunch, it’s still somehow down to poor work ethic. Nah.

Andy Chalk: That’s some bull

Let's wade into this mess again: The Bully Hunters positioned itself as an anti-harassment campaign that would deliver its message by delivering ass-kickings to deserving jerks in CS:GO. But it was a dubious proposition from the start and it went sideways almost immediately. Members of the Bully Hunters were accused of behaving badly themselves, and the Twitter history of Natalie "ZombiUnicorn" Casanova, who had signed on to represent the group publicly, was found to contain some pretty ugly commentary that ran contrary to what the group was purportedly fighting. Supporters bailed, social channels went dark, and just a few days after it began, it was over.

Harassment and abuse of women in online gaming is a problem. Efforts to address it are necessary and welcome. And I can absolutely understand the urge to drop the hammer on the worst of online bullies at their own game. But this particular exercise was a clear demonstration of the risks of wrestling with a pig: You get dirty, as the man said, and besides, the pig likes it.

Steven Messner: I have no low and I must scream

Honestly, I don't have much to complain about this week. Is that okay? Can my low section just this once be a place where I say that, actually, this week has been really nice? I mean, Tyler definitely nails it on the head with that Warhammer story, and Sam already covered the ridiculous 5,000 euro advertising debacle. And I'll be damned if I steal the spotlight away from Joe's incredible singing talent. So that doesn't leave me with a whole lot other than to say that I'm catching up on jetlag, enjoying the hell out of being back to normal work, and the snow is finally melted. It's been a good week.


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