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There’s always someone out there looking to make trouble. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 biggest gaming controversies of 2018.
For this list, we’re looking at the biggest scandals and PR nightmares to hit the gaming industry in the last twelve months.
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#10: Quantic Dream’s Toxic Workplace
Earlier this year, David Cage made history—but for all the wrong reasons. He and Quantic Dream became the first game studio to try and sue the media for bad press, taking out lawsuits against French journalists and outlets after reports on the studio’s working conditions were published. Apparently, the studio’s environment is host to a range of issues, including sexist, homophobic, and even racist jokes and attitudes. While the journalists and employees say their claims are valid, Cage denies them all to the extreme, telling Eurogamer that he can’t be homophobic or racist because he works with Ellen Page and Jesse Williams.
#9: Women in WWII
It was in 2017 when players of Call of Duty were allowed to select a female avatar for the online multiplayer if they wanted, which prompted outrage from a small group of people about historical accuracy. And now the debate is starting all over again as Battlefield V’s release looms, because this time around the franchise features a female protagonist. Despite the fact that a simple Google search will prove that many women did serve as combatants in World War Two from many different countries, the historical accuracy card is still being played. EA, however, have stood by the decision, saying, “either accept it or don’t buy the game.”
#8: WHO Game Addiction
The World Health Organization brought on the ire of games around the globe earlier in 2018, when they decided to add game addiction, or gaming disorder, to their repertoire of diseases and afflictions. Many viewed this as an attack on gaming culture, despite the fact that the real reason is because of frequent, tragic deaths in the internet cafés of many South-East Asian countries. “Game addiction” exists as a category purely so the people who need medical help can get it, and as long as your love of gaming isn’t detrimental to your daily life then you have nothing to fear.
#7: Rockstar Overtime
Just weeks prior to the release of the highly anticipated Red Dead Redemption 2, co-founder of Rockstar Games Dan Houser made a comment to an outlet about working “100-hour weeks,” prompting investigations into Rockstar’s crunch culture. Houser later said he was only talking about the writing team and that they don’t expect their employees to work anywhere near that much, but many say otherwise. Speaking on condition of anonymity, employees claim that the Rockstar crunch has led to strained relationships and even mental breakdowns. On the other hand, there’s also those who claim Rockstar is one of the best employers, leaving gamers not knowing what to believe.
#6: Epic Games vs. PUBG Corp Lawsuit
Even the most avid fans of Fortnite and Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds have to admit, the games are pretty similar. Similar enough that PUBG Corp launched a lawsuit against Fortnite creators Epic Games, stating that Fortnite’s celebrated battle royale mode infringes on their intellectual property rights. Sound ridiculous? That’s because it was, about as ridiculous as Id Software trying to claim every first-person-shooter made after Doom was plagiarism. It’s not surprising to hear that this lawsuit was quietly dropped only a few months later, probably because PUBG Corp saw they couldn’t win against the biggest game in the world.
#5: Active Shooter
School shootings are tragedies seen all too frequently in the news, so it’s no wonder people were so offended to see this controversial shooter about to be released on Steam in June this year. A petition to get it removed garnered almost 200,000 signatures, as well as public outrage from the survivors and families of victims of the Parkland school shooting. The game was removed from Steam, though its developers claim they still want to see it released, and its name has since been changed to Standoff.
#4: IGN Plagiarism
In a creative industry plagiarism is one of the worst crimes you can commit, made even more damaging when it comes from an entertainment outlet as prevalent as IGN. YouTuber Boomstick Gaming brought attention to the problem when he posted a video alleging that an IGN writer, Filip Miucin, had directly copied his Dead Cells review. Watching both videos, it’s hard to deny—though Miucin himself has done just that, claiming coincidence and delivering what many claim is an insincere apology. Nevertheless, IGN fired him after further plagiarism accusations came to light, showing that theft of any kind is never okay.
#3: Riot Games Sexism
League of Legends is a gaming institution in its own right, but this year the story broke that its developers are worlds away from the diverse game they strive to create. Women from the company have spoken in detail about the gender discrimination and sexism they’ve faced there, to the point where one anonymous whistleblower said it’s next to impossible to get a woman hired into a leadership role. Instead, women’s status as “true gamers” or “core fans” is constantly called into question. To make matters worse, two male employees who spoke out on Twitter in support of their female colleagues and female gamers in general, found themselves out of a job shortly after.
#2: Telltale Games Closes
For years, Telltale Games were a critical darling, but it seems that while their games are good—and some of them even masterpieces—they just didn’t sell well enough to sustain the studio. Their narrative-based, episodic series have wowed audiences for years, but they took on too much too soon. The staff grew to a huge 250+ employees and the games were coming out too often on an outdated graphics engine; to put it bluntly, the company unfortunately became completely unsustainable. All but 25 employees were then let go with no warning or severance pay in September, leaving them all out of a job and their games forever unfinished.
#1: Trump Attacks Video Games
Arguably the most controversial president in US history, when questioned about the causes of the increases in violence and gun crime in America, Donald Trump sweepingly blamed video games and movies. For decades it’s been a point of contention about whether these forms of media actually do encourage violent behavior, though most evidence generally says the two are unrelated. Venezuela even banned “all violent video games” in 2010, and if Trump gets his way, it seems America could be going down the same route; though major games companies and studios would surely have something to say about that.