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This week's highs and lows in PC gaming


Samuel Roberts: Valve VR

Valve's Index headset was revealed this week, which while expensive, is still an exciting prospect to me. Unveiling that hardware without a killer app seems weird to me, though. If this is the moment to capture attention and get people to reserve their hardware, the promise of a 'fidelity first' headset doesn't do a lot for me. I always feel like I'm on the brink of jumping into VR without ever actually doing it, and in this case, maybe a killer app would've got me over the line. I guess I'll just look out for that announcement later this year. 

Tom Senior: Hog roast

The Sonic the Hedgehog movie’s first trailer left viewers baffled and even a little disturbed this week. Sonic’s human mouth and human teeth were a point of obsession. For anyone who makes things and puts them on the internet, ridicule is an expected part of the cycle of online reaction. After that there’s a backlash to the backlash coming from people saying that Sonic’s human mouth and teeth are fine, and then finally everything goes quiet until Sonic the Hedgehog’s human mouth and teeth return in the next trailer.

That’s the rough and tumble of internet discourse. It can be mean, but creators are normally good at rising above it all. I’d like to see the creators here push ahead and try and make Sonic’s human mouth and teeth—which Sonic appears to have stolen from a child—the best damn teeth they can be and screw the haters. Unfortunately that hasn’t happened. A character redesign is planned, which likely means putting huge amounts of work in the bin as artists grapple with the perhaps impossible task of turning this into a relatable 3D character that doesn’t horrify humans.

 Wes Fenlon: NetherRealm and crunch

Last week I talked to former developers at NetherRealm, makers of Mortal Kombat, about their experiences with brutal crunch at the studio. Since then, more stories have come to light, and spoke to both former and current developers who confirmed the issue is still very much alive at NetherRealm

But so far, I haven't seen any public acknowledgement of these issues from NetherRealm's leadership. That needs to change. I hope that multiple employees speaking out publicly leads to more internal pressure to overhaul how NetherRealm treats its contractors and schedules its games.

Fraser Brown: Randy's riled

Gearbox and a long list of streamers showed off a chunk of Borderlands 3 this week, but the real show was taking place in CEO Randy Pitchford's Twitter feed. Pitchford took issue with Game Informer's reporting on Borderlands 3's microtransactions. Very publicly. In 70 tweets, including a 17-tweet thread. It went on for two days. I'll let the tweets speak for themselves. Especially this one.  

Stay off Twitter, folks. It's bad for you.

James Davenport: Baba ain't me

I love Baba is You. I've just been stuck on the same puzzle for a week, so sometimes I think I hate Baba is You. This is the usual relationship I have with a good puzzle game, the genius-to-peanut-brain whiplash. It's been a part of my morning ritual for the last month: brewing a nice cup of overpriced coffee, reading a chapter or two of critical theory I'll never be able to parse, and bashing my empty skull against a mid-game Baba is You puzzle. I'd say my mental health ain't great, but I'm not sure I have a brain to worry about in the first place. 

Update: Just solved it. I'm a god. The smartest boy there ever was. 

Chris Livingston: Left 4 Zed

Guess I've got the zombie blues this week. A Left 4 Dead 3 trailer was a pretty obvious fake, and World War Z sounds like it's not so good. It's not like I've been sitting around waiting for yet another damn zombie game, but I have been thinking back at how much fun the Left 4 Dead games were. To see that a game inspired by them isn't up to snuff and to have the hopes of another L4D game dashed, both in the same week, is kind of a bummer.

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