This week in gaming news: franchises try to transcend across mediums while we memorialize an iconic creator that has already done just that and more.

Akira Toriyama Has Passed Away

Confirmed by his production studio, Bird Studio, Akira Toriyama passed away on March 1 due to acute subdural hematoma. He had since been interred to rest in a private ceremony amongst close loved ones.

Toriyama’s influence on the world is unmistakable largely thanks to Dragon Ball, while he has also changed the trajectory of games in Japan with contributions to Dragon Quest. On top of his other projects such as Chrono Trigger and Dr. Slump, Toriyama’s iconic style and stories have often been cited as huge sources of inspiration in not just comics and games, but sweeping the feet of whole swathes of cultures and communities.

Close friend and One Piece creator, Eiichiro Oda, eulogized Toriyama, describing him like “a tree” that has taken root, establishing a legacy of “branches” that has and would continue to influence many. Shōnen Jump has published a compilation of numerous other statements from various industry figures, such as Naruto creator Masashi Kishimoto and Dragon Quest co-creator Yuji Horii. Translations of their statements can be viewed here.

Among one of several of Toriyama’s final projects he had creative involvement in, the video game adaptation of his manga, Sand Land, is set to release this April.

What the Hell Is Happening With Warner Bros?

Corporations continue to stay corping, and Warner Bros. Discovery has been announcing a smattering series of wild decisions.

First off: CEO and President of the Global Streaming and Games division J.B. Perrette has made a statement boldly stating that he hopes to move the company away from the “volatile” AAA market, instead hoping to focus on the free-to-play and live service games space. Perette acknowledges that the WBD’s success is dependent on reliably working with well-established franchise IPs—although their recent Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League hasn’t met the publisher’s expectations.

A screenshot of a character selection menu from a video game. Portraits of various fictional characters from different media such as Batman and Bugs Bunny are displayed in two rows.

WBD goes on to shut down Rooster Teeth, in a process and transition that current general manager Jordan Levin states may take several months. Rooster Teeth was a subsidiary of Warner Bros. since 2022.

Having its roots initially starting out as an independent production comedy group that also produced various series such as Red vs Blue and RWBY, Levin asserts that The Roost Podcast Network will remain in operation. Numerous alum from the original Rooster Teeth have since gone on to produce their own independently-run work. It is currently unclear what will happen to Rooster Teeth’s library of content after this shutdown.

A group of young women rendered in a stylized 3D, anime artstyle pose mid-action in various outfits on a stone paved surface. They are surrounded by various trees and rock structures while a sun softly backlights them in the background.

WBD is also intending on retiring games from its Adult Swim label, which would officially pull them from all platforms and storefronts. A company representative told developers that they are not transferring ownership to developers due to “logistical and resource constraints.”

Calling WBD unscrupulous is an understatement: The film and television sectors of WBD has long been taking scrutiny for various other measures, mostly infamously for the nefarious scrapping of the unreleased film Batgirl, with similar actions more recently reflected in their intentionally just as criminal handling of Coyote vs. Acme.

Meanwhile, fans are just hopeful for MultiVersus‘ return, catching on that several of the game’s social media channels are reawakening with some activity.

The Fallout Franchise Flourishes

Fallout’s TV series adaptation is officially real: The series is scheduled to premiere on Amazon Prime on April 11.

Conclusions to a Couple of Gaming Crimes

A judge has officially settled the terms between Nintendo and Tropic Haze, the developers behind the Switch Emulator yuzu. The defense must now pay Nintendo $2.4 million and cease all development and distribution of the emulator.

Jack Teixeira, a Massachusetts Air National Guardsman who was traced to have leaked major classified documents on a Discord server agrees to accept a 16-year prison sentence. Teixeira has pleaded guilty to all six counts charged against him in exchange to not be charged with additional counts by the prosecution under the Espionage Act.

In other news…

Voice actress TARAKO has also been confirmed to have passed away. In games, she has played Monokuma in Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony and various roles for the Super Robot Wars titles. She has performed for numerous characters in anime throughout her long career, most known for having held the role of the titular protagonist of Chibi Maruko-chan for over 35 years.

More games studios continue to announce they are shuttering: Deck Nine Games, developers who have contributed to Life Is Strange: Before the Storm, Life Is Strange: True Colors, and Telltale’s The Expanse have announced closures around the same time Sony has gone through a period of hundreds of layoffs last week. Eggnut Games, developer of Tails Noir has also made the difficult decision to close due to “persisting complications in funding.”

The 20th BAFTA Games Awards has officially announced their nominations list for this year. Baldur’s Gate 3 has secured about 10 nominations across several categories. The awards ceremony is taking place on April 11.

Following Sting’s official sendoff and retirement from wrestling, one of his sons goes on to reveal himself as having been running a Destiny YouTube channel for some time.

Fellow games journalists who used to work at Hard Drive have launched a new, independently-run publication called Palette Swap. The team hopes to focus on both serious writing and satire their Hard Drive alum is known for.

Mass Effect is getting a co-op board game. To be published by Modiphius, the game’s storyline is set to take place during the events of Mass Effect 3.

Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut is coming to PC on May 16.

Currently trending card game Balatro has been removed from some console storefronts due to strict anti-gambling restrictions in various regions. Publisher Playstack states that this is due to a ratings bump of the game stemming from the mistaken belief that the game contains or encourages actual gambling.

Following an unsurprising, tepid response, Ubisoft’s Skull and Bones has been seen already getting price cuts on storefronts.

But more baffingly, Overwatch 2 has an upcoming collaboration with Cowboy Bebop.

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