The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continues to leave its mark everywhere and in the gaming industry. Thinking of indie developers facing financial hardship in the wake of GDC cancelling (like many other events due to outbreak concerns), Wings Interactive is teaming up with other companies to form a relief fund that will try to reimburse accepted applicants’ nonrefundable travel costs. The University of Washington’s ongoing game Foldit has launched a new coronavirus-based puzzle that will let players “fold” or find 3D models of new proteins that could help real scientists find a treatment plan. On top of that, China, where the coronavirus first occurred, has also become the site of labor abuse allegations against major game companies that do business there. In other news, this gaming roundup includes updates on Final Fantasy VII Remake’s playable cast and information on HBO’s new TV adaptation of a major game series.
Highlights From This Week's Gaming News
Frictional Games Announces Amnesia: Rebirth
Set in the universe of Amnesia: The Dark Descent, the new game will focus on Tasi Trianon, who must figure out her past as she roams the Algerian desert. Amnesia: Rebirth is available to wishlist on Steam, and it will also launch on the PlayStation 4.
MUNCHKIN: Critical Role is Coming to Destroy Your Friendships
Munchkin and Critical Role will join forces in a new tabletop game set to launch this fall in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, and the U.K.
What Will Happen to Flash Games? This Museum Wants to Save Them
Web gaming portal and publisher Kongregate is partnering with the Strong Museum to preserve Flash games for research and more. This move is largely in response to the end of support for Flash games later in 2020.
The Last of Us Series is Coming to HBO
The Last of Us will be another game property adapted to television in the future. Neil Druckmann, long-time creative director and writer on The Last of Us series, will collaborate with the TV adaptation’s writing team.
New Second Stadia Studio Steals Sony Santa Monica Head
Google has started a new studio for Stadia in California, with ex-God of War executive producer Shannon Studstill leading it. In contrast, Yumi Yang has become the new head of Santa Monica Studio, the original developer of the God of War series.
NBA 2K20 Update Makes A Wish Come True for William Floyd
Thanks to the Make-A-Wish foundation, basketball enthusiast William Floyd has been added to the game as a free agent in a new update. 2K created his in-game model by comprehensively recording his movement with over a hundred motion capture cameras.
Coronavirus Game Lets Players Try To Create A Real-World Medicine
Foldit, an ongoing 3D puzzle game developed by the University of Washington that lets players find new protein structures that could help with scientific research, has added a puzzle for the coronavirus. Playing the game can potentially help scientists find ways to treat the current outbreak. Previous Foldit gameplay saw their results published in the scientific journal Nature Biotechnology.
Wings GDC Relief Fund Offering Financial Aid to Affected Indie Developers
Wings Interactive, a new company interested in funding and supporting games made by diverse teams, has joined efforts to help people financially affected by the cancellation of GDC in March. Indie developers can apply to the Wings GDC Relief Fund to potentially receive reimbursements for non-refundable accommodation, Visas, and non-refundable flights. Companies like Raw Fury and 11-Bit Studios are working with Wings to make this relief fund happen.
Red XIII Won't Be Playable In Final Fantasy VII Remake
According to co-director Naoki Hamaguchi, he will show up toward the end of the game as an AI guest character. Hamaguchi adds that Red will have his classic move set from the original Final Fantasy VII.
Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft Implicated in Chinese Forced Labor Camps Report
According to a recent report from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in China are under 24/7 surveillance, banned from engaging with their own religion, and have limits on their movement while working in factories. The report adds that companies involved in this are "directly or indirectly benefiting from the use of Uyghur workers outside of Xinjiang through potentially abusive labor transfer programs as recently as 2019..."
Features and Reviews of the Week
After years of technological improvements, the time is ripe for a new Fatal Frame game.
Screenshot Survey: Jack is Back
Samurai Jack headlines last week's Screenshot Survey, a roundup of cool shots from game developers' Twitter feeds.
Yes, Your Grace earned praise for its strong writing and weighty decisions, making it a kingdom management simulator that's worth your time.
Murder By Numbers intrigued TechRaptor with its characters, plot, and '90s-inspired art, but it might be a bit much for more casual players.
Magic: Legends Successfully Captures The Card Game's Charm
TechRaptor compares the classic card game with its latest video game adaptation after trying out a new demo.
Final Fantasy VII Remake Impressions - Like The Demo I Remember
While playing the Final Fantasy VII Remake demo, TechRaptor enjoyed its combat system and familiar vibe.
What do you think of the relief fund to help indie developers after GDC’s cancellation? Are you interested in watching The Last of Us as a TV show on HBO? 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.