From Australian wildfires to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, recent events continue to impact the gaming industry and its place in the world. IGN Summer of Gaming and other online shows meant to replace cancelled events like E3 have been postponed in response to the death of George Floyd. Guerrilla Collective has also been delayed, but is hosting a new event today that focuses on black developers. Humble Bundle plans to launch a $1 million fund dedicated to publishing games by black developers. Game bundles are being sold to raise funds for organizations like Black Lives Matter. Titles like Call of Duty and NBA 2K20 have included in-game content responding to the current situation.
Along with that, games continue to prove to be a flexible form of communication and self-expression with players creating Tiananmen Square memorials in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. In other gaming news, there’s a new fund for indie developers impacted by the cancellation of GDC due to COVID-19, digital drawing software for the Nintendo Switch has been funded on Kickstarter, and the first half of Pokémon Sword and Shield’s expansion pass has a release date.
Highlights From This Week's Gaming News
In response to the death of George Floyd, the event will happen a week later, June 13-15. However, Guerrilla Collective is hosting a livestream today to showcase games made by black developers and share conversations with them, as well as focus on titles that feature black protagonists. Other gaming events like PC Gaming Show, Future Games Show, IGN Summer of Gaming, Cyberpunk 2077 Night City Wire, and “The Future of Gaming” PlayStation 5 event have also been postponed due to Floyd’s death. In contrast, the Indie Live Expo remained scheduled for June 6, and showcased games like Nimbus Infinity and That Tiny Spaceship.
While Hong Kong has banned public gatherings in response to COVID-19, its citizens have shifted their memorials honoring Tiananmen Square protests to the virtual space of Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Similar to in-game protests held by Hong Kong players before, they’ve used custom designs, suitable clothing and furniture, and even island villagers to craft scenes later captured as screenshots to function as a form of memorial.
Colors Live is the sequel to the Nintendo 3DS game Colors! 3D. The new title will come bundled with the Colors SonarPen, a pressure-sensitive stylus that will plug into the audio jack of the Nintendo Switch. The campaign has already exceeded its fundraising goal with over $120K but lasts until June 12. Various reward tiers for backers include the game itself and customized pens.
After this year's GDC was cancelled due to COVID-19, WINGS Interactive set up the GDC Relief Fund to help indie developers with non-refundable travel costs. Additional funds raised from that effort have been used to create the Elevate 2020 GDC Relief Fund Accelerator program in collaboration with Code Coven and several other companies. The program is scheduled to launch this September, and participants will have access to features like mentorship, industry connections, and milestone-based stipends. Summer GDQ Online, scheduled for Aug. 16-23, will also raise funds for Doctors Without Borders.
At the time of writing, the bundle has now actually raised over $76K, with plans to donate all funds to the Black Lives Matter organization and the National Bail Fund Network. The bundle includes games like Coffee Talk, Moon Hunters, and Chambara. The charity sale on itch.io will last until June 17. Humble Bundle has also announced a $1 million fund dedicated to publishing games created by black developers.
Starting June 17, players can take a break on the Isle of Armor. Other reveals included new regional variants like Galarian Slowbro and new Gigantamax forms for Pokemon like Venusaur. The Crown Tundra, the other half of the expansion pass, is scheduled for this fall.
Features and Reviews of the Week
The latest installment of Screenshot Survey checks out titles like the roguelike Horae, the pixel art of Souldiers, and the horror game Carrion where you get to be the monster trying to escape.
TechRaptor's guide on Riot Games' newest title discusses gameplay, the layout of maps, and terminology that players have started to use.
For the anniversary of the classic Nintendo RPG, TechRaptor analyzes the game in loving detail, covering the developer's philosophy of “reckless wildness” and the title's influence on Undertale and beyond.
If you have someone to play tabletop games with while under quarantine, TechRaptor suggests trying titles like Jaipur, Arkham Horror: The Card Game, and Patchwork.
What do you think of the gaming community’s response to current events? Do you want to make art on the Nintendo Switch with Colors Live? Did you see other news in gaming this week that deserves attention? What did we miss from the last week in gaming? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. For more on COVID-19’s ongoing impact on gaming, check out TechRaptor’s evolving hub of COVID-19 updates.