USG Notebook is a weekly column dedicated to rounding up rumors, tidbits, and commentary that didn't get full coverage on the site.
It's easy to say the biggest news so far this week concerns The Last of Us Part 2. In the course of just about a day, the upcoming sequel from Naughty Dog both received a new release date and had pieces of its story leaked online.
We're not discussing any of the spoilers here, but rather, the discussion that quickly sprang up around them. Over the course of the day, discussion online rapidly shifted towards labor issues at Naughty Dog. It centered in part around a March Kotaku report detailing the crunch at Naughty Dog leading up to The Last of Us Part 2's former release date; a culture that's been reportedly prevalent at the studio.
Theories, bolstered by online speculation and rumors, quickly pointed towards the hypothesis that an employee leaked the info out of spite, as evidenced by developer build details in the footage. Industry heads started discussing the potential ramifications of using spoilers as a cudgel for forcing the studio to address its working conditions.
Indie developer Rami Ismail discussed how this hurts devs alongside the studio heads, as their work gets portrayed in an unfinished or unintended light. Bloomberg reporter Jason Schreier reportedly spoke to devs affected, saying they spoke out against the crunch but were also "devastated by the leak." Others stirred up more discussion about larger actions like organizing.
All of this was discussed while there was little to no actual proof that this was a retaliatory action, as some mentioned on social media. It's still unclear why this info leaked, so speculation has driven the discussion of how "spoilers" affect the employees of these studios.
Naughty Dog's Neil Druckman, meanwhile, said he was "heartbroken" over the leak, and the studio requested fans not spread the info, some of which has already been distorted into unclear or unproven plot points. I've personally looked at the leaks, and what's clear is that the info that's out there only shows part of the picture; an incomplete part of a whole that isn't useful for discerning what Naughty Dog is going for with The Last of Us Part 2.
Here's the rest of what's been happening this week in gaming news.
From the Rumor Mill
- Silent Hill rumors are back on the menu, with a slight teaser for new info in May. It would line up with current rumblings about upcoming game reveals for the next generation of consoles, though I'm not taking stock in this particular tidbit right now.
- GamesBeat reporter Jeff Grubb says a PS5 event is planned for June 4. He's been on the money before, and that lines up with the aforementioned rumors of next-gen reveals around the void of E3 2020.
News and Tidbits
Riot Games responded to discussion over one of its own developers getting harassed on voice communications while playing Valorant. "The reality is that, for the harassed, it can be challenging to play a game competitively because you need to first protect yourself from 'inviting' harassment, and so you mute someone because they're screaming slurs into the mic, or you mute yourself because that seems to keep the peace," Anna Donlon, executive producer on Valorant, told Kotaku. She went on to say features like character voice callouts and the ping system are "just the start" of a larger initiative for addressing this issue.
Destroy All Humans is set for July 28, 2020 on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. It's a remake that begs the question "why,", but for those holding out to once again abduct cows and ransack cities, that might be enough reason to play it again.
A new Twitter account has been pairing Tom Nook and Isabelle's dance moves to various songs, and it's the absolute best. I prefer this adaptation of "Take On Me", but Staff Writer Nadia Oxford also puts forward a strong contender in the current song of the summer, The Weeknd's "Blinding Lights." Editor-in-Chief Kat Bailey has also told me the "It's Raining Men" version is pretty solid.