Avalanche Studios Employees have unionized

Posted on the studio’s official website, Avalanche Studios has announced their collective bargaining agreement with two established Swedish labor unions. The agreement is planned to go into effect next year, with the intention to help standardize things like salaries, benefits, and the power both management as well as individual employees can hold. Avalanche studios is known for their work on the Just Cause series, as well as the oddly beloved 2015 open world iteration of Mad Max. They are currently working on a multiplayer smuggling game called Contraband that I would really like to see gameplay of, as it’s been MIA since its announcement in 2021.

Avalanche is one of a few studios that have decided to collectively coalesce and attempt to solve the issues in their work places in recent times, joining the likes of Sega of America, and Zenimax’s QA department. Let’s hope this is a continuing trend across the industry (especially in America please, I can only read so many “and to our workers in America, go home now” layoff letters).

An Invincible game is being crowdfunded

Developer Skybound Entertainment has launched a crowdfunding effort on Republic, a Kickstarter analogue more focused on replicating a traditional investor experience. There’s been a lot of hubbub around the concept of a AAA developer crowd-funding a game, but this definitely seems more like they’re aiming for more venture capital investment, rather than the traditional “let’s make a game with 500k”.

Keanu Reeves is voicing Shadow the Hedgehog in Sonic 3

According to multiple sources confirmed by The Hollywood Reporter, Shadow the Hedgehog will be voiced by actor Keanu Reeves in the upcoming film Sonic the Hedgehog 3. Previous rumors had suggested Hayden Christensen would be taking up the mantle, but frankly I’m glad they’re deciding to lean into the “old man” aspect of the famous edgy hedgehog.

Wizards of the Coast is getting a new president

After a two year tenure, Wizards of the Coast will be putting a new president in charge of things. I would make some sort of comment about how they hopefully find someone better than a woman who oversaw Pinkertons being sent after YouTubers, but I feel like that’s both setting the bar extremely low, and also inviting the worst possible twist of fate.

Nintendo hosted another “Indie World” showcase

Remember when these used to be called “Nindies”?

Despite desperate pleas, yet another video games showcase has come and gone without the appearance of Hollow Knight: Silksong. At a certain point you would think that people would learn, but alas, we shall repeat the cycle anew within a month. Generally speaking, I think there is a conversation to be had about the rampant dismissal of these extremely low budget works that are attempting to have a moment to showcase themselves. I imagine it’s extremely disheartening as a developer making a low-key thing that they’re passionate about, getting a chance to share it, and then being defenestrated because you aren’t whatever abstract deity the YouTube chat have decided to revere that week.

All said, I’m not the best judge of the types of games they have here, but I do still want to point out a few that I thought looked pretty interesting

Little Kitty, Big City looks like a great game if you happened to be a fan of 2022’s Stray, I played the Steam Next Fest demo and found it to be pretty charming.

Lorelai and the Laser Eyes continues to interest me as a surrealist puzzle game, though I didn’t know until this particular showcase that it was made by the same developers behind Year Walk, an old phone puzzler I enjoyed many years ago. You might be familiar with them from their more recent game Sayonara Wild Hearts.

I have no opinion on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Splintered Fate, the previously Apple Arcade exclusive TMNT roguelite, but its arrival on the Switch is a potentially positive harbinger for future exclusives escaping the ivory clutches of iOS (please give me Fantasian and Hello Kitty Island Adventure I’m begging you).

ANTONBLAST looks like another game for fans of Warioland or the recent hit Pizza Tower. I think cartoon mayhem might be making a comeback…don’t know if that’s good or bad.

SCHiM looks like a game all about doing the crazy timing puzzles from Ghost Trick, where you play as a little creature that jumps from shadow to shadow.

Refind Self: The Personality Test Game is, well exactly what it says it is. A short RPG where your actions are judged at the end like one of those online quizzes. This one’s already on Steam, and I know quite a few people who found it incredibly charming.

Stitch. is a cute embroidery game where you try to figure out how to do all the correct hoops across various types of patterns. I recommend always having a detox game like this around (mine is Dorfromantik), because it can be nice to create little rituals where you put your mind at ease.

There were several more games, but I recommend just checking them all out for yourself, the showcase is only about twenty minutes or so.

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