Update (6:48 PM): Blizzard has confirmed the three men have left the company and they have not given a reason for their departure. Their statement:
“We can confirm Luis Barriga, Jesse McCree, and Jonathan LeCraft are no longer with the company.
We have a deep, talented roster of developers already in place and new leaders have been assigned where appropriate. We are confident in our ability to continue progress, deliver amazing experiences to our players, and move forward to ensure a safe, productive work environment for all.”
Original story below:
Potentially enormous news out of Activision Blizzard today as the company continues to clean house in the wake of a lawsuit by the state of California alleging the mistreatment of women at the company for many years.
Kotaku’s Ethan Gach is reporting that multiple sources say three incredibly high profile figures are out at Blizzard, Luis Barriga, Game Director of the immensely important Diablo 4, Jesse McCree, lead level designer at Blizzard (who had an Overwatch character named after him) who was also working on Diablo 4, and Jonathan LeCraft, a level designer for World of Warcraft. Their reporting says all three men are no longer visible in the company’s Slack or internal directory.
According to Kotaku’s sources, no reason was given for their departure, though Activision Blizzard has been separating from employees both accused of misconduct, or those who did not act sufficiently on reported misconduct, but it’s not clear at this moment where these three could fall under that criteria. Blizzard President J. Allen Brack recently left the company after being named in the lawsuit for failing to act on repeated reports of misconduct among his subordinates.
Luis Barriga’s departure is an earthquake, given how essential Diablo 4 is to the future of Blizzard as a whole, by far the largest upcoming project it has in the works. Barriga has been at Blizzard since 2006 and has been the very public face of the project since it was announced. Jesse McCree and Jonathan LeCraft were featured in the infamous “Cosby Suite” photo that was previously shared by Kotaku, a group of men at the company notorious for over-drinking at company events and untoward behavior toward women.
No specifics of why the men have been let go have been surfaced, even internally, and Activision Blizzard has not yet responded to requests for comments. A source familiar with conditions at Activision Blizzard tells me that Barriga and McCree could be described as “super toxic.”
The fact that Blizzard has now replaced both its president and the director of its biggest game suggests that they are taking the reported harassment and inaction issues extremely seriously. It also seems to run counter to the idea they put forth that the lawsuit contained “distorted, and in many cases false” claims. Not sure how you defend yourself fully against a lawsuit like this while simultaneously shedding so many high profile men in positions of power when this behavior was/is taking place.
Diablo 4 is more than just Barriga and McCree, of course, but the game has already been a giant question mark for Blizzard, announced in 2019, and two years later, we still don’t even have a hint of an actual release date. The game gives quarterly progress updates, but Diablo has shifted into other “interim” games like Diablo 2: Resurrected, out this fall, and Diablo Immortal, out early next year. Diablo 4 remains something of a mirage. On the one hand, a seismic shift like this seems like it could further delay things. On the other, if the conditions created by these men were indeed toxic, perhaps under new, better leadership, things could progress more smoothly and in a healthier climate.
For now, we’re waiting for a public statement from Blizzard about this, and I will update if I hear back from them in the interim.
The Witcher’s Geralt of Rivia drops into Fortnite with his mate Doom Slayer
(Pocket-lint) – Fortnite has always been the king of the crossover and now it’s at it again with Chapter 4 Season 1 with Geralt and Doom Slayer making an appearance.
The next big thing in Fortnite is now live with Chapter 4 Season 1 getting an all-new map and a whole lot more. One of those things is a new character called Selene, available from the get-go. But things will get interesting for The Witcher fans come mid-season when Epic Games adds Geralt of Rivia as Battle Pass skin.
As always, the Battle Pass costs 950 V-Bucks and as you progress through you’ll unlock items and whatnot. Geralt will be unlocked via that Battle Pass, as will Doom Slayer – of DOOM fame, of course. Other unlockable skins include Massai, Dusty, Nezumi, Helsie, and The Ageless. The Geralt unlock won’t be available until later on in the season, Epic says.
The latest season includes plenty of other tweaks and treats and makes use of Unreal Engine 5.1, making this the best-looking version of Fortnite to date on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.
All of this will take place on a brand-new island with new points of interest that include The Citadel, Anvil Square, and Brutal Bastion.
The new season of Fortnite is up and running right now and you can get involved yourself. You can play Fortnite on just about anything right now and the download is of course free.
Writing by Oliver Haslam.
‘Elden Ring’ Reveals Free PvP Colosseum Update, Hopefully Ahead Of DLC Announcement
FromSoftware has just released a new trailer for an upcoming free update to Elden Ring that drops tomorrow, Wednesday December 7.
It’s a PvP-focused update to the game which will herd players into battles into the many colosseums doting the map, hence why it’s called the “Colosseum Update.” They just released a new trailer for it, which you can see below:
According to the official press release about the addition, we have some confirmation on what exactly the modes are that will be added:
“The Colosseums of Limgrave, Leyndell and Caelid will open their gates, allowing players to engage in battles such as duels, free-for-alls and team fights.”
In the trailer, we see a traditional 1v1 battle at the start, but it progresses to players fighting each other’s summons, and then finally a 3v3 team fight battle which is well beyond anything the game is currently capable of now.
Elden Ring has spent many months balancing all of its magic and weapon skills in an effort to try to create more parity in PvP, which has turned out to be a significant part of the game, and the core of the game’s endgame once you’ve done everything in PvE.
There is a theory that I personally subscribe to, that FromSoft is revealing this PvP update now and launching it tomorrow so it will not get drowned out by a potential announcement this Thursday at The Game Awards. There are rumblings, and fervent prayers, that this would be the stage in which they would finally announce sizable, PvE DLC for Elden Ring. We are well, well behind the pacing of past DLC announcements from FromSoft games, given that Elden Ring came out almost ten months ago now, but it’s obviously a bigger game than past ones. Elden Ring DLC repeatedly is brought up as the “World Premiere” at The Game Awards that everyone is hoping to see, and these days, with the demise of E3, it’s pretty much the biggest place in the industry to debut things, outside of first party PlayStation and Xbox showcases.
That’s the hope anyway, but the concrete facts right now are just that this PvP update will come tomorrow, so get your builds ready and find some teammates in order to take on the toughest PvP challenges in the game yet. Should be a lot of fun.
Witcher 3’s Free DLC Update Doesn’t Have A Switch Release Date Yet
Next week sees the arrival of The Witcher 3‘s “next-gen” update across multiple platforms, but new information suggests it won’t be coming to the Nintendo Switch on the same date.
Our friends at Eurogamer caught up with CD Projekt Red ahead of the free update’s release, and apparently, there’s “no specific release date yet” for the Nintendo Switch version of the game. All that’s known is it will arrive “later than 14th December”.
Witcher 3 next-gen update producer Ryu Underhill mentioned how the team was “working hard to bring it to [Switch] players” as soon as possible, and more information will be shared in the near future.
When the Switch version of this update does arrive, players can expect the “same fixes and additional content” as other platforms like Xbox One and PlayStation 4. The Switch will also receive cloud-save and cross-progression features, as well as the new Netflix DLC. This new quest will last for about “half-an-hour”, according to Eurogamer:
“…it’s about half-an-hour’s worth, plus a bit more for a follow-up step. It was flagged as level 15…”
Obviously, the Switch update will not include “next-gen features such as visuals/technical/gameplay improvements, modes” or “other additions” exclusive to next-generation platforms.
Via Eurogamer: “The Witcher Netflix DLC is a new scavenger hunt-style quest that takes place inside The Devil’s Pit in Velen. The Devil’s Pit is the place you find yourself immediately after leaving the starter zone of White Orchard. It’s that big, circular, wooden-fence-ringed place where nothing seems to actually happen. Currently, there are only some humanoid enemies in there, and the big door to the mine is closed. This DLC opens those doors.”
You can see more of this next-generation update in our previous Witcher 3 coverage:
Are you looking forward to trying out this update? Comment below.
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