David Cage's Quantic Dream sues French media outlets over negative coverage

Heavy Rain and Detroit: Become Human developer Quantic Dream came under fire earlier this year over allegations of workplace sexism, homophobia, and inappropriate behavior. Today, Kotaku reported that in response the studio has filed lawsuits against two of the three French outlets who reported on those conditions. 

Quantic Dream management angrily denied the claims in the reports filed by Le Monde and Mediapart, who are named in the suit, and Canard PC, which apparently is not. Studio founder David Cage called the allegations "ridiculous, absurd, and grotesque" when they first came out: "You want to talk about homophobia? I work with Ellen Page, who fights for LGBT rights. You want to talk about racism? I work with Jesse Williams, who fights for civil rights in the USA," he said (via Eurogamer). "Judge me by my work." 

Co-founder Guillaume de Fondaumière similarly asserted that the claims were "absolutely false," and then promised in a followup statement sent to Kotaku that he would "take all possible legal actions to defend my honor."   

The lawsuit relates to a collaborative investigation into working conditions in the game industry conducted by Le Monde, Mediapart, and Canard PC. 

"Since September 2017, two journalists from each publication have worked directly together, sharing approaches, witnesses and information. This crossover of views and skills between a video game magazine and a investigation specialist, serving a joint study, is to our knowledge a first," Canard PC explained in its English-language coverage, which includes NSFW images. "Each media outlet writes its own articles, but we try to coordinate, if possible, themes and dates of publication. For this story only, we also worked in parallel with our colleagues from Le Monde." 

The specifics of the suit haven’t been revealed, but both Le Monde and Mediapart confirmed to Kotaku that they are being sued. William Audureau, who reported on the story for Le Monde, said his report was "written sincerely, following a well-documented, thorough investigation, respectful of the principle that both sides must be heard," and added, "We stick with our information."   

We didn’t report on the initial story because it’s been more than a decade since Quantic Dream released a game on PC, but this kind of legal action is unprecedented as far as we can recall, and has potentially broad implications. 

Even if the media outlets ultimately prevail in defending the veracity of their work, the costs involved in defending the legal action could make other, smaller outlets think twice before publishing negative reports on other studios and publishers. As such, it’s definitely something to keep an eye on in the coming months.

Upgrade to an SSD right now for just $36

It’s almost unbelievable how low SSD prices have become. Kingston has been the king of budget drives for a while now, especially with its 240GB drive for $70. The company’s 128GB SSD has now fallen to just $36.

This is a great option for upgrading an older HDD-equipped PC, or even to keep as a backup in case another drive fails. In real-world testing, it has an average sequential read speed of 482MB/s and write speed of 231MB/s. That’s not as fast as some other 128GB SSDs, but it’s only 36 bucks—roughly half the price of a new AAA game.

You can buy the Kingston A400 SSD from Amazon. Newegg has it for a dollar more, if you’d rather shop there.

Some online stores give us a small cut if you buy something through one of our links. Read our affiliate policy for more info. 

MSI wraps its newest mid-tower case in tinted tempered glass

MSI is rolling out a new Mag Pylon mid-tower case that it’s positioning under its "Gaming Gear" umbrella of products. It has three tinted tempered glass panels—both sides and the front—to show off your build, and supports the company’s Mystic Light Sync feature to synchronize lighting across other MSI products.

The case comes with three 120mm RGB fans aligned in the front. You could swap them out for a pair of larger 140mm fans if you wanted to, and there is also room to install up to two 140mm or 120mm fans (or a liquid radiator and fans) in the top and a 120mm in rear.

Cable management is a bit more important in a see-through case like this, unless you’re a honey badger and just don’t care what your build looks like. Assuming you do, you’ll find four large cable cutouts to the right of the motherboard tray. There are also several cable tie downs on the back of the tray.

The Mag Pylon sports a dual-chamber design that is pretty common these days. There are two drive bays supporting 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch storage drives tucked into the bottom, and around back are mounts for two more 2.5-inch drives.

You can install a graphics card up to 14.57 inches long in the Mag Pylon. The case supports mounting it vertically in front of the side panel, though it’s not clear if the "construction kit" that makes this possible is included with the case or will be sold separately.

The front I/O consists of two USB 3.0 ports and two USB 2.0 ports, along with separate headphone and microphone jacks. Power and reset buttons sit on top as well.

The case looks attractive and offers plenty of features. Unfortunately, MSI did not announce pricing or availability yet.

Hollow Knight Lifeblood update now available, Gods & Glory DLC 'coming together'

Hollow Knight’s long-awaited Lifeblood update is now available, developer Team Cherry announced today. If you purchased the game through Steam or GOG Galaxy, it will automatically update. DRM-free GOG and Humble buyers will need to download an updated version from their respective storefronts.

Lifeblood’s headlining addition is a new boss, but an existing boss has also been "seriously upgraded." That said, some players are probably more excited about the new custom map markers, which you can use to stay organized in the game’s complex, interconnected world (and which you can explore the making of here). A medley of smaller fixes and extras are also included, most of which help catch the PC version up to the upcoming Nintendo Switch port. 

Looking ahead, Team Cherry says Hollow Knight’s third major DLC, Gods & Glory, is "coming together as we speak, and is shaping up to be the largest pack yet." In an update earlier this year, the studio described it as the "final chapter of the Knight’s journey," and said it would release in early 2018. It includes a new game mode, multiple new bosses, and the ability to "glorify" your charms, adding "whole new depth to your charm collection."  

Peggle, PopCap's rage-inducing digital pachinko game, is free on Origin

If you’re looking for (another) reason to get mad and scream at your computer about the inherent unfairness of the universe, PopCap’s infuriating, pachinko-inspired Peggle is now free on Origin. 

This isn’t the first time Peggle has gone On the House but it’s been awhile, and it’s definitely one worth having if you haven’t already picked it up. For as much as it is likely enrage you when the ball bounces this way instead of that, it’s an outstanding time-killer from PopCap’s best days: Bright, flashy, cute, and hard to put down. Also maddening as hell. Have I mentioned that?

And now, much like Phil four years ago, I’m pretty much done here. It’s Peggle, it’s free, you should get it. But if you want more, here’s Jason Kapalka (who actually left PopCap in 2014 to found Blue Wizard Digital, and my how time flies) dishing the dirt on the Making of Peggle. 

Bully Hunters anti-harassment campaign shuts down as criticism mounts

Bully Hunters was unveiled last week as a program aimed at combating the harassment and abuse of women in online games, a worthwhile idea that raised eyebrows with its methods. It was billed as a "vigilante in-game hit squad" made up of elite women gamers who would "beat bullies at their own game." Basically, players encountering abuse in CS:GO were encouraged to contact the Bully Hunters, who would then send one of their players to "infiltrate" the game and deliver righteous justice through a righteous ass-kicking.   

Noble goal, dubious process, and unsurprisingly it all went about as wrong as it possibly could have. Following allegations of toxic behavior by Bully Hunters members themselves and the resurfacing of tweets by representative streamer Natalie "ZombiUnicorn" Casanova containing homophobic and abusive language, sponsors and supporters quickly pulled out, the Bully Hunters website and social media pages went dark, and today the company behind it pulled the plug on the whole thing. 

"We’re well aware of the many faults with BullyHunters. We hear you guys, and we agree."   

Steelseries statement

"BullyHunters pitched us with a simple idea – let’s work together to fight online harassment. And because we believe that’s a noble cause, we supported it," Steelseries said in a statement announcing the end of its partnership with the group the day after it debuted. "It’s now clear that we didn’t do a good job in understanding exactly what we were supporting. And we’re sorry for that." 

Vertagear issued a similar statement, also on April 14, saying that anti-cyberbullying efforts are a worthy cause, and that it had hoped to draw attention to the problem and encourage the growth of a less toxic gaming environment for everyone.   

"However, the information that we received before the start of the campaign not only contradicted the execution of it, but we discovered after the fact that it was sorely lacking," Vertagear wrote. "Our biggest mistake was not thoroughly vetting the details of the campaign to ensure that the execution would be up to the proper standards expected, and we apologize for that and the horrendous results of this event." 

The Diverse Gaming Coalition weighed in as well, citing Casanova’s Twitter history as specifically problematic. She has previously used what could charitably be called "combative" language in tweets, and a clip of her using a homophobic slur during a livestream was also shared to Twitter.     

"Various tweets show wrongdoing by host, Zombi Unicorn, which are actions that Diverse Gaming Coalition does not condone, although she was not solely to blame for the Bully Hunters initiative as a whole," The Diverse Gaming Coalition wrote. And while it was under the impression that the Bully Hunters would continue, it "does not align with our mission and vision statement as a non-profit. Because of this, we are deciding as of now, we are dropping as a partner from the Bully Hunters initiative." 

Casanova addressed her use of toxic language in a statement in which she said that, "due to the overwhelming amount of harassment, toxicity, hate & threats," she would be stepping away from the project.   

She also suggested that she too was misled by the campaign, specifically with regard to the statistics about abuse that it quoted. "Projections based on market size estimate of 32.7 million female console gamers in the US by YouGov, and 9.6 percent reported that they quit playing a certain game permanently because of harassment as reported by International Business Times," she wrote.

"Those statistics were extrapolated by Bully Hunters to express a point that sexual harassment has negatively effected more women this way. I used those stats from their posts and was told the sources would be listed on the site. I also didn’t feel qualified enough to discuss them in depth, so I noted to watch the event to hear the licensed psychologist and guests discuss it better."

The cumulative effect of the damage was simply too much to overcome, and marketing agency FCB Chicago, which launched the program, told Polygon that it is over. 

"As this effort did not live up to our high standards, we decided to end this program, but hope the conversation it has raised around ending harassment in gaming continues," global chief communications officer Brandon Cooke said. He added that other involved organizations provided no financial support or sponsorship.

"In most cases they were just supporting the cause. SteelSeries helped connect us with a few gamers and provided some headsets for the live event. That’s all," he said. "One [host was paid], but the other was not."

Despite the outcome and the deluge of personal harassment she’s experienced as a result, Casanova defended the goals of the project, if not the way it went about achieving them. "Love it or hate it, it did its job," she said. "It’s brought a lot of attention to this. It’s opened up the discussion to more people. Yeah, it’s brought a lot of trolls, but it’s opened the discussion."

AMD’s second-gen Ryzen CPUs are topping 5.8GHz when overclocked

Two of AMD’s upcoming second-generation Ryzen processors have already been overclocked to 5.8GHz and beyond, a feat made even more impressive by the fact that all of the cores on each chip were enabled while it happened.

Extreme overclocker "TSAIK" achieved the feat on on AMD’s Ryzen 7 2700X and Ryzen 5 2600X. Both had to be subjected to exotic cooling—liquid nitrogen, or LN2—in order to reach 5.8GHz and higher, so obviously running the new chips at that speed is not the least bit practical. We’ll have to wait and see how they perform on air and traditional water cooling.

In the meantime, it’s interesting to see the new processors approach 6GHz. The Ryzen 7 2700X performed a hair better than the Ryzen 5 2600X, reaching 5.884GHz with the core voltage set at 1.76V. That’s impressive considering it has eight physical CPU cores. The 6-core/12-thread Ryzen 5 2600X hit 5.882GHz.

To put those results into perspective, the Ryzen 7 2700X has a maximum boost frequency of 4.3GHz via Extended Frequency Range 2 (XFR2), while the Ryzen 5 2600X tops out at 4.2GHz. Both of those maximum frequencies are in single-core mode.

The processors were plopped into an MSI X470 Gaming M7 AC motherboard along with a single 8GB G.Skill Tirdent Z DDR4 memory module.

AMD’s new Ryzen chips will be available starting April 19. In addition to the Ryzen 7 2700X and Ryzen 5 2600X, the company also announced non-X variants of both parts. Here’s the full introductory lineup with speeds and pricing:

The new chips are available to preorder now at Amazon and Newegg. Not to be confused with Zen 2 that is due out next year, these second-generation Zen+ chips contain performance optimizations underneath the hood and run slightly faster than the first-generation Ryzen processors they are meant to replace.

AMD also announced a new X470 chipset, though the new processors are compatible with existing socket AM4 motherboards as well (with a BIOS update).

Shenmue 1 and 2 are coming to PC with updated graphics options

In January, Shibuya Productions founder and president Cedric Biscay said that Shenmue 3 would be out this year, and promised "many other surprises" as well. Tonight, we got a couple of them: The first two Shenmue games, originally released in 1999 and 2001 for the Sega Dreamcast, are coming to PC.

"This is the definitive version of these all-time classics and will be the best Shenmue experience to date," Sega said. "The re-release will stay true to the originals with modernized features including fully scalable screen resolution, choice of modern or classic control schemes, PC graphics options, an updated user interface and the option to enjoy either the original Japanese or English voiceovers." 

Shenmue follows the adventures of Ryo Hazuki, a young martial artist on a quest to avenge his father’s murder. Players must search for clues, talk to NPCs, and deliver some jujitsu beatdowns in a real-time open world with day/night cycles, changing weather, and a population that goes about its own business on its own time. 

Such was the game’s commitment to taking a more realistic approach, (insofar as vengeance driven tales of martial artistry are ever realistic), Ryo even worked a spell on the docks as a forklift truck driver, with pretty much all the mundanity you’d expect that to entail. The sequel made its way to the original Xbox in 2002, but this will mark the first appearance of either game on PC.   

Shenmue 3 is of course coming to the PC as well, in case there was any doubt: Shibuya dropped some new screens and recommitted to a 2018 release earlier this year. 

One big question is how the old graphics will be upgraded for the PC release: What the games will scale to, how (or if) the textures have been upgraded, and what PC-specific options will be supported. We’re hoping to hear answers soon, and hopeful it won’t end up like Chrono Trigger, which launched with an ugly pixel smoothing filter in place that left many fans unhappy and was ultimately patched out.

Shenmue 1 and 2 will be available for preorder soon on Steam; physical editions are coming as well, but are currently only planned for consoles. Details are available at shenmue.sega.com

Gwent release set for October, but a full redesign is coming first

It’s been a bit of a rocky road for CD Projekt’s Witcher-based card game Gwent. Fans are enthusiastic, but the Thronebreaker campaign that was supposed to arrive in 2017 was delayed into this year (and still isn’t out), and in January the studio issued an apology for problems with the mid-winter update, which it admitted was rushed to hit a deadline. Today the studio announced a new phase of development called Homecoming, expected to last for six months of "fully-focused development," after which both Gwent and Thronebreaker will go into full release. 

There will be only two updates released during the Homecoming phase, one later this month that will add the missing Premium cards and faction-specific board skins, and then another in May that will make balance changes and incorporate "a new approach to ‘Create’." After that, CD Projekt Red will go heads-down into Homecoming until the game is finished. 

Read more: Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales review

"What we didn’t realize [during the public beta] was that we also started slowly drifting away from our original vision for standalone Gwent. While fighting with the everyday reality of regular updates and content drops, we lost sight of what was unique and fun about the game," CEO Marcin Iwiński explained. 

"Six months is a long time, however, on the flip side, after Homecoming concludes, we will go out of beta and release Thronebreaker at the same time. Don’t worry about your progress, once Homecoming is complete, for a limited time, you will have the ability to mill all of your cards for their full value. Regarding our esports activities, for now, our calendar is not changing." 

Homecoming will be focused on eight "key pillars": Turning Gwent "into a battlefield," upgrading the board (including possibly removing one of the rows), fixing the coin mechanic to eliminate the advantage players have for going second, revamping player progression, focusing on skill and player agency, re-focusing on core gamers, bringing back the "darker aesthetic and mood" of The Witcher, and completing the single-player Thronebreaker campaign.   

It’s obviously going to be a major overhaul, and I have to wonder just a little bit if six months will be long enough to get it all done. But Iwiński sounds committed to making it happen, asking fans for "trust and patience" while they work on it. 

"We have never accepted ‘good enough’ at our company. We have always taken risks and made bold decisions if we believed they would result in a better game," he wrote. "We want Gwent to kick some serious ass and reignite your passion for our beloved CCG." 

A new BioShock game is reportedly in the works at a 'top-secret' 2K studio

Buried within a lengthy Kotaku story on the current less-than-ideal state of things at Mafia 3 developer Hangar 13 is an interesting tidbit about another 2K game you may have heard of. The report says that a top-secret studio located "next door" to Hangar 13 is currently in the early stages of work on a brand-new BioShock game. 

"Next door, a small group of people were working on a project code-named Parkside, quietly recruiting from across the video game industry for a game so secret, they wouldn’t even tell their colleagues at Hangar 13 about it," the report says. "Word got out, though, that it was in fact a new game in one of the most interesting shooter franchises of the past decade: BioShock." 

The project is apparently still quite small. "They’re trying to be really smart about figuring out what the core thing is," one person involved with the project said. "They’re careful about not falling into the same problem every studio has, where they have too many people and nothing for them to do." 

Kotaku’s report on Hangar 13 is interesting and well worth a read in its own right, and kind of sad too: Despite the problems with Mafia 3, it sounds like the studio was ready for bigger, better, and genuinely interesting things, but layoffs and a loss of leadership cost it much of that momentum. But it’s the oddly-offhand mention of a new BioShock that’s the real eye-opener. Not that it’s surprising that 2K would return to one of its most visible and valuable series, of course, and it has been five years since BioShock Infinite came out. I guess I just expected a little more fanfare. 

It’ll be very interesting to see where BioShock goes next. The report doesn’t indicate who’s leading the game’s development, but Ken Levine, the creative director on BioShock and BioShock Infinite, won’t be involved: He pulled the plug on Irrational Games in 2014, and is now heading up a new, smaller studio called Ghost Story Games.