EA Are Wide Of The Goalposts With This Gaffe

 

 

 

 

I know, I know, this is the second article in a row bashing Electronic Arts, my apologies. But how could I not stick the boot in when they make it so easy? And let’s face it, it’s not like it isn’t deserved!

So, not being content with the recent hatred garnered from their endeavours to cash in on the corpse of the legacy of one of the finest RTS games. EA true to form and right on track have decided they needed some more negative press.

 

 

Having recently lowered the bar for how much you can physically detest them, free-falling beyond the depths of the abyss in which it previously resided. It seems the cretinous company has sought to create their very own EAbyss if you will. And oh my how they’ve succeeded. Having pushed effortlessly past the 3rd and 4th circles of hell completely skipping the 5th and landing just smack dab in the centre of the 6th. They have achieved pure heresy since their evil machinations regarding the sullying of Command & Conquers great legacy.

So what have they bloody well gone and done this time eh?

Not satiated by their never ending ethos of lust, greed and gluttony they’ve seemingly gone and licked the shitty boots of the American establishment from heel to toe, in a move that can only be described as pathetically petty, if deliberate. Regardless of whether intended or not, this potential foul up has given ammunition to those who hold them in disdain. For EA have only gone and censored Colin Kaepernick’s name from a song used in the soundtrack of their latest Madden title.

The verse from which his name was censored in YG’s song ‘Big Bank’ (quite a tune as it goes) is as follows;

 “Feed me to the wolves, now I lead the pack and shit. You boys all cap, I’m more Colin Kaepernick.”

Have a listen to the scrubbed name version here;

 

 

For those who are a little lost by all this, let me do some quick explaining.

 

Who Is Kaepernick & Why Is This Significant? 

Over the last two years protests during the singing of America’s national anthem have taken centre field in the world of American Football’s NFL, but why?

Since 2016 some players (in some cases entire teams) have been protesting racial inequality and police brutality in the USA in a way that has shocked reactionaries in the land of the free. For these players have dared defy angry right wingers, the political establishment and NFL officials by kneeling silently during the national anthem.

Elements of the harbinger of democracy have massively overreacted to this valid and necessary form of protest by banning players and threatening other such sanctions against them. Kaepernick, having lead the charge as the first to sit then kneel during the anthem whilst playing for the San Francisco 49ers is the man who has borne the brunt of this backlash. Having effectively become persona non grata in the sporting world. Instead opting to become persona grata in the hearts of socially conscious people everywhere.

Here he is speaking on the importance of the protest and his reasons behind it, at a speech he made after accepting Amnesty International’s ambassador of conscience award;

 

 

Could this be EA’s own politics at play? Capitulation to pressure from the NFL, an organisation they must work closely with in the creation and development of the series which makes mega bucks? Or is it as their statement responding to this incident claims – simply the fuck up of a simple minded group of employees?

Let’s take a closer look at that statement.

 

 

EA’s Explanation, Credible Or Nah?

I’ll post the statement below so I’m citing my sources and all that, but EA say it was nought but a simple dropping of the ball in interpreting the law regarding rights. See, EA do not have the rights for Kaepernick to be in the game as a playable character and apparently members of the team took this to mean he couldn’t even feature as a lyric in a song….

 

 

EA’s Statement;

“Members of our team misunderstood the fact that while we don’t have rights to include Colin Kaepernick in the game, this doesn’t affect soundtracks. We messed up, and the edit should never have happened. We will make it right, with an update to Madden NFL 19 on August 6 that will include the reference again. We meant no disrespect, and we apologize to Colin, to YG and Big Sean, to the NFL, to all of their fans and our players for this mistake.”

I can’t be the only one to think this but … really now, seriously? I know that of course not every employee outside of the legal department is going to be well versed with the laws and ins and outs of them. However thinking his name couldn’t even be mentioned in a song he knows his name is in and which he doesn’t own the rights to, seems a tad overzealous for those who would be responsible for the soundtrack right?

So what do you think? Is this just a fumble or a political statement? Either way EA could do without the negative press, not that it’s going to stop them making oodles of money or carrying on their less than ethical business practices anytime soon. Sigh.

At worst this was deliberate but in my eyes, at best this was born out of the climate in which Kaepernicks name is mud to officials in the NFL and beyond. With that being so, those in charge of the soundtrack thought best to remove him all together. Let me know what you think or if you agree!

 

 

 

EA’s Command & Conquer Cash Grab

 

 

To many EA are viewed as one of the scourges of the video game world, a triple A behemoth that acquires and assimilates studios, most often to the detriment of fans and their beloved games. A company that is viewed as gluttonous for money and unscrupulous in their quest to fill their coffers, at the expense of delivering the best games and services they could. Well, frankly those people are far from being wrong.

 

EA’s reputation for being one of the most cut-throat companies in the industry precedes them and for good reason. Moving from gaffe to farce it has laid bare its modus operandi, which is purely to profit by any means necessary. As can be seen with some examples from their collection of scandals, most infamously and recently the ruckus caused by Star Wars Battlefront 2 loot boxes. Okay, they did backtrack on that decision but just look at the worlds of Fifa and Madden and their in game purchases. You’ll soon see how EA made $1.68 billion through microtransactions, subscriptions and DLC last year.

 

Now in general in the ongoing debate surrounding their practice, I’ve been a quiet onlooker tutting in distaste at their actions, noting it all with a shake of my head. This time however they’ve crossed a line I had subconsciously drawn in the sand. They’ve opted to revive one of the seminal real-time strategy games as a mobile game. It was announced at E3 to great internet uproar, that the game which alongside StarCraft and Warcraft shaped the landscape of a genre and helped populate it with players, is to be made into a mere mobile app.
 

What C&C Was To Me

Following the success of the 1995 Command & Conquer release which welcomed us to a near future of a Tiberium contaminated Earth, Westwood Studios released a second game set as a prequel to the Tiberium series. Known as Red Alert it was set in an alternate timeline where the Soviets had waged war against the Allies in the wake of the Cold War. This was the series I really got my teeth into and was my first bite of RTS games (sorry GDI and NOD, Allies and Soviets forever.)

 

Way back, as a wee lad of 6 years old in the year of ’96 I have vivid memories of playing Red Alert in awe on my mates step-dads PC. Even at barely over half a decade old I fell in love with the idea of controlling troops to outwit the enemy, especially those darned sweet attack dogs. I mean just look at the cute butter wouldn’t melt one bite one kill bastards…

 
Attack Dogs

 

 

As a series it had so much character and flare, making a great concept simple but most importantly extremely enjoyable gameplay. Just look at the trailer, for the time it must have been mind-blowing, especially if like me you love all things military (it’s not a phase mum,) it even filled me with an intense urge to play watching it back now.

 

The game had a soundtrack that really blew your bollocks off and made you feel like you were riding into battle alongside the action, it’s just so intense. To this day just hearing the ‘Hell March’ gets me in the mood to do some commanding and conquering instantaneously.

 

 

 

 

To me what really gave this specific C&C series character was the satirical and humorous take on the superpowers of the East and West in the campaigns and cut-scenes. This coupled with further characterisation in their building, tech and troop types made it an absolute delight of light-hearted parody. It was funny, often poignant and at times quite kitsch and to me this means that Red Alert: 2 was the epitome of the series because it captured all this the best. Have a cheeky peek at the opening cut scene to get a flavour of what I mean;

 

 

The series eventually fizzled out with releases that didn’t particularly live up to their predecessors’ names and so of course popularity dwindled. It is apt to note that EA took over Westwood Studios in 1998 and closed it in 2003. For all the years that it has laid dormant since the last 2013 release people have called for its revival, however no fan ever expected or ever wanted it to look like this.

Taking something so ground-breaking and influential in the rise in popularity of the genre, a game that was so instantly recognisable for its style and great gameplay and turning it into …. well just watch and see;

 

 

At time of writing 2.1k likes, 50k dislikes on that trailer.

 

 

Command A Cash-cow

C&C Rivals is but a mere husk of the franchises former glory days and in my opinion looks barely indistinguishable from any other ten a penny mobile game I see advertised all over social media. EA have created a knock-off version of a title they acquired, originally created by a studio they closed.

 

Yes perhaps you might say I’m falling foul of what I accused certain Fallout fans of in a previous article and yes, change isn’t always bad, just in this situation there’s no redeeming features. I’m not simply lamenting a different take on a treasured game, it’s the outright relegation of a pivotal series in the RTS genre to nothing more than a mobile game. EA are clearly looking to compete in that reputedly exploitative market with a nostalgic big hitting name. They think C&C is in the same gutter as pay-to-win games such as Clash Royale.

Now I am not entirely opposed to mobile games or even C&C ones at that, it’s more the practice of an exploitative market which all but forces you to make in-game purchases owing to dodgy games mechanics designed to do just that. Bringing out a new name in the series on mobile alone is an outright insult to a prestigious legacy.

 

Mock it

EA have made an obvious attempt to cash in on the pay to win aspects of mobile games using one of the biggest names in RTS history as nothing more than a cash-cow. Shame on them.

 

 

Fear And Loathing Of Fallout 76

 

 

 

The world of Fallout has rightly earned itself a place in gaming popular culture and in the hearts of a passionate following of fanatics. A category I feel I fall into personally, as I love to explore all things Dystopian and post-apocalyptic, so to me discovering Fallout was a godsend. This aspect is something the series has delved into in a way that is exquisitely spot on, time and time again. Crafting wonderful single player RPG worlds out of the nuclear wastes of the USA, along with well written stories to match. It’s truly a gripping game you can happily lose yourself in, even with all the misery.

 

Naturally, there is much debate amongst fans over which of its games are better and which makes the franchises bottom fall out, you know, the usual my favourite is better than your favourite type stuff. Now to me, up until the most recent release in the series developed by Bethesda, the games studio has hardly put a foot wrong (sorry New Vegas diehards.) To others I’m a heretic and a fool, it’s a really rather hotly debated topic. To be expected, as anything gains passionate fans so too does it gain their impassioned opinions which are often voiced vehemently. Something which Bethesda’s most recent announcement has caused no end of, falling foul of angry and hesitant  fans at the first hurdle. As well as the customary surrounding hype, the heralding of this game has caused a lot of fear and loathing across the internet, when very little has actually been concretely revealed despite unverified leaks.

 

So let’s take a look at what has been announced before we move on to dealing with what us fans are causing a ruckus about whether positive or negative. After a 24 hour stream  which was watched by 2 million and displayed nothing much beyond their customary ‘standby’ screen this announcement trailer dropped;

 

 

Oh god it says so little but makes me feel so much and personally I don’t care what it is, just give me it already it’s a bloody Fallout game (as long as it’s not a mobile app game!) Well, to wait for more concrete facts on what the game actually is planned to be we will have to wait for Bethesda’s announcement at the upcoming E3 event. However there is much speculation and rumour as well as apparent insider anonymous tips basically confirming what it is. But before I get on to discussing that let’s take a wee look at what this teaser trailer reveals to us.

 

First thing you notice is the music, a cover of  John Denver’s ‘Take Me Home, Country Roads’ and so immediately it’s pretty obvious where this ones gonna be set. West Virginia I suppose, if the lyrics are anything to go by, but perhaps Virginia reunified after the bombs dropped? We will have to wait and see. Which brings us to the next significant point in the video of Vault 76, the poster stating 1776-2076 marking the USA’s tercentennial year. 300 years from the date it didn’t want to pay the taxes it owed to the British government for protecting them from their new neighbours they managed to piss off rather quickly. Ungrateful I know.

 

Next comes a TV clip which states ‘When the fighting is stopped and the fallout is settled, you must rebuild.’ This makes sense as in the lore of Vault 76 it was to be one of 17 control vaults of 500 residents compared to the other experimental ones and was programmed to be opened 20 years after the bombs of nuclear war dropped. Setting this particular Fallout game way earlier than any we’ve yet seen, which is one of the worries I’ve seen voiced online. What will be in the wasteland besides waste if it’s so early after the bombs dropped? To me I don’t feel like this will be an issue as there will still be plenty of options to fill the wasteland with points of interest, story and dangers even if civilisation hasn’t started rebuilding as fully as it has in previous games. Perhaps as suggested by the fella on TV, that will be your job anyway….

 

 

The next point of focus in the trailer doubles down and emphasises on this, a shot that pans out across the atrium showing the remnants of a celebration that has been held for what has been billed as ‘reclamation day.’ The day the vault dwellers head out to recolonise their now irradiated country – however those with a keen eye will see that the date on the pip boy featured in the trailer, states 27 OCT 2102, a whole 5 years out from the 20 year programmed reopening date of 2097. Did someone oversleep? Did something go wrong? Is this just a lore error on the part of Bethesda (wouldn’t be the first time,) again we will just have to wait to find out why.

 

pip boy

 

Now for the real atom bomb that’s got a large portion of the community up in arms (honestly looking at comments on social media and YouTube it seems it’s 50/50 at this point.) The reason why? Anonymous insider tips has it that this game will be the franchises first furore into online multiplayer and not only that, but it may be an MMORPG or shock horror even a stinky awful survival game, which now has people referring to 76 as a Rust clone, which I think is cute. As if every survival game is just Rust over and over again, spoiler alert, they’re not. Here’s just some examples of the hate and hype it’s getting –

 

Fallout mixed reviews

Featured fallout 2

Fallout mixed reviews 3

 

To many Fallout fans it seems that it’s not only war that never changes, to them their beloved game doesn’t or shouldn’t really much either and change is something that they feel should be avoided. I can understand that people may not want a multiplayer Fallout game with potential survival game and MMORPG elements however there is probably just as many that do and haven’t yet ever received one. So basically they’re being pretty selfish and I’d suggest they learn to share or something I guess or that not every game is going to be tailored to their exact wants and needs. To me, as I often say, variety is the spice of life and I welcome taking the Fallout world in other directions, I just hope there is a single player option for those who do not wish to play online, that it does the namesake justice and that more classic Fallout games will be made in the future to satisfy those poo-pooing this one already.

 

Change, change always changes (or happens rather) but in all seriousness, it’s the one constant in life and though we may cling to the nostalgia of what we feel a game was, is or should be, we must remember that diversity can add freshness alongside the classics if done right. I have wanted a Fallout game to be multiplayer and co-operative for so long now and I am really excited for more concrete evidence on what exactly it is, stay tuned for more on this as it comes in, I’ll be sure to write about it. In conclusion Fallout 76 should not be feared and loathed, even if it’s not exactly what you hoped for. It should be judged on its own merits, so let’s wait and see if it rises like a mushroom cloud or nuclear bombs. Topical jokes haha.

 

What are your opinions on the announcement of this new game? I’d be interested to hear.

 

A RuneScape Riot; One Spicy Meatball

(Time of writing – 16th of May)
A source on the ground in RuneScape’s capital city of Falador in the World 2 server, whom wishes to remain anonymous (being in their mid-twenties and understandably not wishing to be associated with online browser based MMO games) has reported mass protests and civil unrest on the streets. This news comes after an unpopular decision taken by the games developer Jagex was announced and players are clearly and visibly not happy with it.
DOWN.gif

 

Yet another riot in a long lineage of this gaming communities’ digital civil unrest, in favour of the little people and if you ask me, personally, one of RuneScape’s only redeeming factors that I can find. Beyond providing work for ‘farmers’ in less economically developed nations or allowing those who play a monetary means to justify the many months lost to this game over the course of their life. Jagex will find out once more that when provoked those little people can become one giant and infuriated people when they stand together. I kid.

Reportedly there are some ‘absolute scenes going down.’ As can be corroborated by our anonymous tipper who has been amongst those protesting, first as an observer then as a participant. They sent in some fresh from the front-line footage which you can view below to give you a better idea of the sheer scope of the matter. The video was captured earlier this afternoon and e-mailed over to us using the pseudonym, buying-gf-for-100-gold-but-not-renewing-my-subs@[Redacted].com, and it clearly shows that the tension is so thick it could be cut with even a bronze dagger. Players can be seen shouting slogans such as ‘We pay we play, save RuneLite, Jagex don’t let us down’ and ‘RuneLite or nothing.’

 

 

So what exactly is the decision making gaffe behind the grumbling gamers at Jagex’s gates this time? If you’re not in the know and haven’t guessed what the issue is already, let me be the first to sadly inform you that a well-liked client named RuneLite has been banned by the developers.

 

A Brief History

So how did we get to this moment?

OSRS (Old-School RuneScape) is the original 2007 version of the game that was re-released in 2013 by Jagex owing to popular demand. After, in the words of the game’s fans – they ‘fucked their game up.’ It was reportedly ruined over a number of years by worse decision after bad decision, such as an imposition of a trade limit as well as removing the wilderness where players could go to engage in PvP combat. These two reasons alone were huge controversies and the cause of past riots in and of themselves.

Fast forward to the current day, there are a number of different third-party clients that people use to play the OSRS version of the game, OSBuddy being the most popular. It has a few plug-ins which make the game easier and more user-friendly, for example, XP trackers as well as mini-games to add to the fun. The PRO version (paid for by subscription) has a few more of those plug-ins such as NPC markers and a health regeneration overlay.

A group of people from the community came together and decided to create an open-source client which included all of the paid features of the aforementioned OSBuddy and more … on top of all this it was completely and most importantly free, the absolute madfolks! Causing OSBuddy to lose popularity/patrons and therefore profits (RuneLite you MONSTERS.)

 

 

The Spice Coating This Meatball

Jagex have just this very day decided that by being open-source, RuneLite are infringing on their intellectual property. As the open-source nature of the client allows people who code bots free access to their code. Here’s where the spicy shady things start to come into frame.

When approached by Jagex with the request to remove their client, the owner of RuneLite said they would make the client code closed-source to abate the cited worries. This was not enough and Jagex said ‘No’ and has even reportedly threatened legal action if the project is not entirely shut down. It has always been speculated amongst the community that there has been dodgy dealings between Jagex and OSBuddy and here we are, faced with what seems to be pretty blatant concrete evidence if you do even just a little digging into the current matter.

Check out this statement from Adam, the owner of RuneLite;

 

adams statement.jpg

 

A statement which clearly shows intentions to meet the worries of Jagex and work with them. Jagex are yet to respond to it directly and have specifically stated they’re not interested in airing their dirty laundry of deeds and grievances in the angry eye of the public sphere. Couldn’t imagine why, could you?
The Sauce Of The Heat

Check out the developers of OSRS at Jagex try to brush it off and dance around the resentment and anger in the chat bar in their scheduled monthly Twitch streamed Q&A. A chat bar that is absolutely off the hook with unbridled rage of a fan-base scorned, a fan-base who they are currently blatantly condescending to. Those present immediately call it for what it is, bullshit, considering the offers from Adam at RuneLite to make it closed-source being met with legal threats.

Say what you like about RuneScape fans but they call it like they sees it.  Something fishy smelling is afoot and I’m only LVL 1 fishing so it sure as heck ain’t me! Especially considering OSBuddy made a few of their pro plugins free shortly after this whole debacle was set in motion;
OS BUDDY MAKES THINGS FREE

 

After the statement made by Adam surfaced about going partially closed-source and using RuneLites own API OSBuddy go right ahead with announcing this;

 

JAMES

 

Looks like they could do with a lesson in timing or at the very least better PR people. It seems, to this unbiased and critically thinking eye that mayhaps a certain 3rd party and a certain Jagex are in cahoots. You rub my back with money I rub your back with wiping out the competition kinda deal? A corrupt conspiracy with money at the centre? Surely not? (haha)

Well here’s something to add a little more fuel onto the raging dumpster fire that is Jagex and OSBuddy’s handling of the situation, a representative of OSBuddy admitting they have a non-disclosure agreement in place and that their client is safe as houses for one reason or another – undisclosed of course;

 

OSBUDDY IS GONNA BE FINE NDA

 

This is a developing story but from what has transpired I feel pretty comfortable in pointing my cursor at this conclusion following some cursory research. What do you think, spicy or nah?

 

For what it is worth, I would just like to personally congratulate everyone in the RuneScape community as well as the wider world of video games who have been involved in ‘riots’ for just causes. Not only for standing up for themselves but their peers and other consumers too. After all, games and gaming should be for the enjoyment of those who play them, not solely the company’s profit. Or at the very most, exist for each other in an entirely symbiotic nature. I hope Jagex listens to the people who make them successful and that their humble and just demands are met. Developers would do well to listen more to their respective gaming communities that pay for the profits they take home. As some have learnt the hard way, that is, if they ever learn at all.

[UPDATE: Since time of writing there has been a full u-turn by Jagex and now RuneLite lives on!  As can be confirmed by the screenshot below from a discord post by its owner in which he refers to Mod Mat K, who instigated the conversation regarding the shutdown. Thanks to the efforts of all those involved in the community riot, in the game and on the web they had no choice but to listen.]

 

ADAM 2

Special thanks goes out to; Thomas Calvert of Essex age 23 and a ½.