Lynn and the Spirits of Inao was an adventure game where players would apparently explore a world inspired by Japanese mythology. Developed by a company called Bloomylight Studio and intended for release on various platforms (Wii U included), the game had apparently been in development for five years and was raising more money as part of a Kickstarter campaign. There’s a pretty nice trailer you can see for it here:
As of today though, it’s no more. The developer has shut down the Kickstarter campaign with a cancellation message, which is as follows:
First of all, thank you to all of the backers who supported Lynn and the Spirits of Inao.
After being deeply affected by the various stories from the past few days, and conscious of the mistakes from the past which are now harming the game, we have taken the difficult decision to end the adventure here. In the face of the violent declarations made to us and the threats uttered against members of the team, we now have to end this project that was born in 2011. It is regrettable that a handful of individuals were able to destroy the work of so many people and that they spent so much energy to cause a relentlessness of incredible violence against our team.
We would like to thank all the people who contributed to the game and got involved in the project. These last five years spent working hard on Lynn and the Spirits of Inao were an unforgettable experience motivated by the passion to create a game of quality and to offer a new experience.
Thank you for your understanding.
But what was the deeper story here? What were the mistakes from the past that got it shut down?
Well, it’s a long story. Basically, the company is said to have a history of hiring interns to work on the game and not paying them for their contributions. This is illegal in France (where the company is based), and apparently it’s even more so if they don’t have any regular employees. As a result, there was a lot of controversy round the game. Facebook pages and Tumblr posts appeared talking about how the game was a scam and how the developer was supposedly mistreating its employees. There was a really interesting Reddit topic about the allegations, which can be viewed here:
French Kickstarter game Lynn and the Spirits of Inao accused of having been developed illegally by unpaid interns – Reddit
And either way, the company (quite rightfully) got hell for this from the gaming community. After all, what did you expect would happen? The the industry’s already got a lot of issues in regards to companies pushing an endless cycle of ‘crunch’, where employees work insanely long hours for fairly little pay and poor working conditions. And what Bloomylight Studio did here seemingly goes a lot further. Indeed, there’s talk in that topic of people at the company being made to sign a document that (wrongfully) said they were being paid for their work when they really weren’t. That’s a pretty sleazy move from anyone if true.
But yeah, as a result the game is cancelled. It’s bad news for adventure game fans (because damn, the game did look really nice in the trailer above), but given the talk of working conditions and pay at the studio, it was inevitable from the start.
Miyazaki-Inspired Lynn and the Spirits of Inao Canceled After Accusations of Not Paying Interns – DualSHOCKERS
Huh, guess its lifespan certainly wasn’t infinite, was it?
Either way, Disney has now confirmed that Disney Infinity will not be continuing as a concept. This is because while Disney Infinity outperformed their other video game efforts (that division lost 53 million dollars in three months in 2013), it still hasn’t done well enough. And so with the game not bringing Disney Interactive back in profitability, Disney Infinity is now being discontinued. Once the Alice Through the Looking Glass and Finding Dory packs are out, that’s it; Disney is out of the toys to life game.
Above: A promising start, but it ended just three years later.
In fact, that’s not the only thing they’re discontinuing. Oh no, Disney is also getting out of the games market in general. They’ll be quitting the self-published console games business, and shutting down Disney Infinity makers Avalanche Software. That last move will cost 300 people their jobs.
So it’s curtains for Disney Infinity. But does this have any ever effects?
Well, possibly. You see, the toys to life market in general is not doing so hot at the moment. In fact, it only grew 7% in the US last year, and might be on course to decline in this one. As a result, sales for series like Skylanders are also down, and LEGO Dimensions has significantly underperformed compared to both Skylanders and Amiibo. As a result, it seems like Disney Infinity might not be the only casualty in this market’s impending bubble burst, and the end might be drawing near for both Skylanders and LEGO Dimensions too. And how about Amiibo? Well, it’s one of the only things making Nintendo any real money at the moment, but I can see a day when that might stop too. Maybe the Nintendo NX might mark the end of the Amiibo line?
Either way, things are bleak for toys to life, and Disney Infinity has already gone under. But what do you think? Could this be the end of other toys to life franchises as well? Could Nintendo’s Amiibo ever be discontinued too?
Disney Infinity is Dead as Disney Exits Game Publishing – GamesIndustry.biz
The newest installment in EA’s Battlefield series has been announced. Officially called ‘Battlefield 1’, the game departs from the standard FPS cliches by being set during World War 1 rather than World War 2 or the present day. Here’s a trailer for the game:
Above: Not quite your usual FPS game setup…
As you can see, the setting has done wonders for the game’s originality. You got the brutal trench warfare that characterised this conflict. You’ve got horseback combat, since this was the last major war where mounted calvalry played an important role. The planes are all styled after the old school biplanes of the era. Either way, it seems a bit more interesting than the usual FPS game, and EA says it will feature some of the ‘largest and most dynamic battles in FPS history’.
There will also apparently be a heavy focus on melee combat, since weapons like bayonets, batons and rapiers were used more often in this conflict.
Battlefield 1 will be released on October 21st for the PC, PS4 and Xbox One, and will be available early through EA Access.
But what do you think about the game? Are you interested in the idea of an FPS game set during World War 1? Could this time period and setting make a nice change from the endless glut of modern day and futuristic shooters on the market?
Battlefield 1 Officially Confirmed – IGN
It’s been delayed three times. Problems with ‘network functionality’ have caused issues for months, and many people have already given up on the game. Indeed, Mighty No 9 was quickly taking up Duke Nukem Forever’s mantle of ‘game that never gets released’ due to all the delays and development problems it’s been having.
But now it seems the Mighty No 9 debacle might finally be coming to a close. The game has now gone gold, and will now be released on June 21st (in America and Asia) and June 24th (everywhere else). What’s more, unlike the previous release dates, the team even outright states that ‘there will be no further delays’. Here’s the announcement post about it on the official Mighty No 9 website:
Mighty No 9 – Goes Gold (official site)
It’s still not everything (apparently the 3DS and Vita ports are coming at a later date), but now it seems the wait for this Mega Man successor is finally over. But will people still care about Keiji Inafune’s project when June rolls around? Will it live up to the hype its generated in the last few months? Will the Wii U version even sell now that the console is being discontinued within a year or two? We’ll have to wait and see.
What do you think about Mighty No 9’s new release date?
In today’s era of day one patches, rushed games and quality assurance practices not being followed too well, it’s not surprising that articles about glitches are common. Whether it’s the Lumiose City glitch in Pokemon X and Y, the three million ways to break Mario & Luigi Paper Jam or Super Mario Maker’s invincibility bug, these things are the subject of numerous articles across an almost infinite number of gaming websites.
But how about when the glitch isn’t real?
How about when someone on Reddit makes up a fake glitch for a popular new game? Like say, The Division?
Because that’s exactly what happened. Reddit user el2mador wrote a post on the subreddit for The Division about how enemy mobs could kill the APC for you. Unfortunately for anyone who tried it, the glitch didn’t work. It was a hoax meant to see how much attention a post about a bug in the game could get.
The gaming press fell for it hook, line and sinker.
And what’s worse, I don’t mean a couple of small websites or independent bloggers fell for it. I mean the likes of IGN and Gamespot reported on it as fact. Despite you know, not actually testing whether it worked. Here’s a list of all the different sites who posted about the ‘exploit’:
The Division: New Exploit Found Hours After Ubisoft Fixes Another – IGN
The Division ‘Falcon Incursion’ exploit hotfix brings new glitch – GameZone
The Division: New Glitch Found in Falcon Lost Incursion – Twinfinite
The Division’s New Bug Makes the AI Work for You – Gamespot
‘Tom Clancy’s The Division:’ New glitch found in Falcon Lost Incursion, lets NPCs kill boss – ibTimes
‘The Division’ Falcon Lost ‘Friendly Fire’ Glitch: Let NPC’s Take Down The APC For You – iDigitalTimes
As Ubisoft fixes one big The Division exploit, players find another – Eurogamer
Note that the above links are archived, since quite a few were deleted since the hoax was revealed. Personally, I’m not a fan of that, it comes across as trying to ‘hide’ your mistakes. These sites should have done what real newspapers do, issued a correction in the article stating that they were fooled by a hoax.
But that aside, what do I think of the situation? Well to be honest, I’d say it brings to light two major issues when it comes to video games and the media.
Number 1 is how dodgy glitch reporting is in general. Think about it. Let’s say you find a glitch being discussed online and there’s no proof that it’s real.
Now, let’s assume you test it and it doesn’t seem to work. What’s the situation here?
Well, it could be any number of things really:
The glitch could be a hoax like in this situation. It’s not a massively common situation, but it does happen, and it’s happened before Th Division was even a game. Did you know that both times Maple Treeway was in a Mario Kart game, someone faked a glitch shortcut for it? Yeah, that’s a real story. People made fake videos showing non existent glitches on the track for both the Mario Kart Wii and Mario Kart 7 versions.
You might have messed up somewhere along the line, perhaps because the instructions given were vague or poorly written. This is a depressingly common occurrence, and a great example can be seen here:
If Paper Mario attempts to defeat one of the Paper Fuzzies before they attack, just before they attack, the game will crash, making the system reset.
That’s an item on Mario Wiki’s page for Mario & Luigi Paper Jam glitches. Don’t get it? Nor do I, and I’ve tried everything to see if this glitch works. Do you attack them on your own turn? Counterattack them on theirs? Use a specific attack? Kill them? Don’t kill them? It’s very unclear and a complete toss up as to whether you’ve figured out what the original writer meant.
The specific copy of the game used by the glitch finder could be broken. If a disc and cartridge has a factory defect, it can cause bugs. If the battery starts to fail, it can cause bugs. If it gets corrupted while being downloaded, it can cause bugs. And on a computer? God help you there, because the amount of possible operating system, driver and device combinations approaches infinite.
Glitches also aren’t always that easy to test. Like these ones:
A journalist will struggle enormously at trying to get frame specific actions to work correctly. And it’s not much better in cases like online multiplayer games, where the behaviour of other players or the AI has to be taken into consideration for some of them to work.
Lag doesn’t help either. If a game lags massively, then the effect can resemble a ton of glitches or a hacker modifying the game for an easy win. As many, many Mario Kart players complaining about people falling off Rainbow Road (then warping back on afterwards) will make clear.
And then there’s plain old human memory, which isn’t anywhere near as good as we think it is. It’s very easy for people to get fake memories if they’re convinced that something unusual actually happened, or for them to get confused and think something strange occurred when it was merely something more benign.
So that’s one thing it teaches us. That reports of glitches on forums and social media are incredibly hard to verify, and might well be utterly wrong.
The second thing it proves is how little fact checking the media does nowadays. I mean, while it would certainly be hard to prove/disprove this particular bug exists, it could be done to within reasonable doubt if the journalist went around, tried the game for a while, asked other people’s opinion, etc. But modern journalism doesn’t allow for that. It wants quickly written articles put up the second the news breaks out, not deeply researched pieces that come out at a rate of two or three articles a week. So as per usual, fact checking is ignored, comments on Reddit are taken as gospel and the media jumps on a ‘hot’ story about a game that’s already being heavily criticised for other things.
Either way, let this teach you all a couple of important lessons; the media does no fact checking, and glitches are extremely hard to verify one way or another.
Reddit Post about the Hoax (archived)