Racist Destiny 2 Fan Fined $500K For Harassing Bungie Employee

A Destiny 2 player who doxxed and harassed a Bungie community manager has been found liable for nearly $500,o00 in damages and fees, in a lovely example of fucking around and finding out.

According to the official Washington State court order, shared on Twitter by paralegal Kathryn Tewson, Jesse James Comer (who Tewson calls a “racist shitstain of a human being,” and girl, preach) went on a doxxing and harassment campaign of a Bungie community manager not long after that CM (who we will not name here) highlighted the work of a Black Destiny 2 creator.

The court documents state that Comer, who lives in West Virginia, added a new number to an anonymous texting and calling service before leaving a “hideous, bigoted voicemail” on what appears to be the Bungie employee’s personal phone. Comer “repeatedly asked that the [employee] convince Bungie to create options in its game in which only persons of color would be killed.” Comer then started leaving similarly aggressive and racist voicemails for the Bungie employee’s wife.

But since men with fragile egos and too much time to spend on the internet know no bounds, Comer didn’t stop there. He escalated his harassment campaign by showing the Bungie employee that he knew where they lived. He ordered a “virtually inedible, odiferous pizza” from Domino’s, set it to cash on delivery, and put in the notes that the delivery driver “knock at least five times” because the person receiving the delivery would be wearing headphones.

Comer then bragged about his behavior in a Steam group called “terr0rgang,” which “maintains a set of sound files and noises labeled as ‘ear rape’ and permits its users to utilize these files as a part of their terror campaigns.” Comer used those audio files in voicemails just two hours after sending the Bungie employee and their wife the pizza.

According to the court order, “Bungie was forced to take expensive measures to protect the Does from the threat posed by Comer (who, at that point, remained unknown and anonymous).” The company sent out “executive protection” within an hour of the “pizza attack,” and hired investigators and outside counsel to try and identify Comer.

Everything Bungie did to protect its employee was expensive, and now Comer has to pay the price according to this court order. This isn’t just an important case for Bungie and its employee but also for victims of online harassment at large. As Tewson wrote on Twitter: “The law moves slowly, frankly; much more slowly than either technology or culture. With this win, we helped to close that gap in some significant ways.”

May this be a warning to all the racist fuckboys in video games: Be prepared to pay up.


New Warzone Season Adds The Boys Characters, Breaks Game

Warzone 2 Season 4 Reloaded features a wild crossover with Amazon Prime series The Boys that adds OP new abilities, leaving players arguing over whether or not the collab is a good one. The Boys series is based on a comic book of the same name that follows a group of vigilantes fighting against superhumans who abuse their abilities—the show is gory, violent, and quite often ridiculous, so naturally, a Call of Duty collaboration would be all three as well.

But Warzone 2 Season 4 Reloaded added something that many players believe is a bit too ridiculous: superpowers. Temp V is a new field upgrade that’s named for the serum used in the show, which gives people superpowers for 24 hours—finding and using it will briefly give you one of four random superpowers. If you activate the Temp V field upgrade, you’ll lose the ability after a few seconds and need to find another dose, which is presumably a way to keep players from overutilizing them. But that doesn’t make them any less ridiculous.

One of the Temp V abilities is villain Homelander’s Superman-esque laser eyes, and it’s already proven to be wildly overpowered. Triggering the ability will cause you to temporarily hover in the air (you can rotate in any direction to aim) and shoot two powerful laser beams out of your Operator’s eyes. As one redditor suggests alongside a video of the ridiculous ability, these powers “may have been better off with their own game mode.”

The Warzone subreddit is loaded with complaints from players, many of whom are saying the superpowers are out of place in the somewhat grounded military game. One of the abilities lets you super-jump incredibly high with no fall damage when you land, which can seriously change the way a final circle is tackled in the battle royale. “With the stupid addition of superpowers I need to completely change the way that I play this game,” replied one redditor to a player who claimed they lost their game because of the super-jump ability.

But it’s not just the new superpowers that are angering Warzone 2 players. There’s a new, super-powered auto shotgun that clearly needs a nerf straight out of the gate.

I fell off Warzone shortly after it made the switch to the sequel, so when I stumbled across a TikTok showing Starlight from The Boys executing someone with her powerful, light-based abilities, I thought it was a GTA VI mod at first. It is, admittedly, ridiculous.

Though many people are vocally against The Boys stuff in Warzone, there are some people who seem into the crossover, especially on TikTok, though it’s mainly for the cosmetic appeal. Buying a skin for Homelander, Starlight, or Black Noir gives you some cool-looking weapons and a set of themed executions, so if you’re really into spending money to have shinier shit, the crossover may speak to you.

What do you think of the Warzone 2 Season 4 Reloaded The Boys content?

Final Fantasy 16 Devs Looking At DLC ‘Options’ After Feedback

It’s kind of unthinkable that a massive RPG wouldn’t get some sort of post-launch DLC in the year 2023, but that’s apparently what the plan was for Final Fantasy XVI earlier this year. That may be changing, however, with producer Naoki Yoshida now saying that the game’s development team is looking at “options” for how to address fans’ demand for more content. Many who have finished the game already have a good idea of where they could start.

Earlier this year, director Hiroshi Takai said there weren’t any existing plans for DLC. Yoshida explained why in a May interview with Game Informer. “”We have no idea if people are going to fall in love with Valisthea and fall in love with Clive’s story and want to see more of the world and more of its characters,” the producer said. “So while we always want to consider DLC or spinoffs or those types of things where you can learn more about the game, first we want to see if Valisthea and Clive are really things players around the world want to see more of and then make that decision.”

Read More: 12 Things We Lowkey Love About Final Fantasy XVI

Now that the game is out, has already shipped over 3 million copies worldwide, and appears to have won fans over, it sounds like some sort of DLC might be happening after all. “As you know, going into FFXVI, the one thing we wanted to do is create a full complete story, something you can enjoy from beginning to end one hundred percent without any DLC,” Yoshida said in a new interview (via IGN). “And I think we were able to do that.”

He continued:

But now we understand that we’re getting feedback from players that have played the game and a lot of players want to see more and we know that and understand that. For us, we’re taking that and then thinking about our options moving forward, so hopefully in the near future we can have something that we can give to you all.

Spoiler warning: The rest of the article will briefly touch on some of the context around the ending of the game and why fans think there’s room for additional DLC.

Image for article titled Final Fantasy XVI DLC Might Be Back On The Table And Fans Know What They Want

While it’s true that Final Fantasy XVI tells a mostly complete story, there are plenty of pieces of backstory that players would still like to see filled in. One of the biggest revolves around the so-called “Lost Eikon” Leviathan. The sea serpent is one of the only original summons that doesn’t appear in the game and is only referenced by name. As Clive discovers the legends surrounding Valisthea’s mothercystals, Eikons, and old gods, it’s hinted that Leviathan is occupying the Northern seas, though we never actually see it or who its current-day Dominant is.

This has led lots of players to speculate about whether Leviathan was cut from the game for some reason, and to suggest that it would serve as a perfect jumping off point for an additional DLC-sized set of story missions. Clive could explore a new location, get some cool new Leviathan powers, engage in one last Eikon battle, and possibly even discover more about the Fallen—Final Fantasy XVI’s ancient civilization whose ruins are scattered throughout the world.

Of course, players have other ideas as well. Another popular pitch for DLC revolves around Clive and Jill finally getting to hook up for real, and potentially having a nice little prologue that provides a proper send off for all of the characters at the Hideout that players have come to care about over the course of the game, not too dissimilar to the final mission in The Witcher 3’s Blood and Wine expansion.

But why settle for DLC when you could ask for an entirely new game? Making a new game from scratch takes forever and is wildly expensive. Maybe it’s time for another sequel spin-off called Final Fantasy XVI-2. Jill can channel Final Fantasy X-2’s Yuna and finally get her own time in the spotlight to help usher in a new era for Valisthea after all its magic and gods are gone. That’s the real fan DLC copium.


Diablo IV Necromancer One-Shots Hardest Boss (Twice)

A painterly Diablo IV image of Lilith.

Image: Blizzard

A Diablo IV player managed to one-shot Uber Lilith, the game’s ultimate, optional hardest boss, twice in a row.

On Wednesday, gaming YouTuber Struth Gaming uploaded a video of himself insta-killing both phases of the outrageously powerful boss with a Necromancer using Blood Orbs in just 79 seconds. You can check out the video below. Also, feel free to punch the air in excitement at their accomplishment or in frustration at how quickly and easily they pulled off this feat most players will likely never accomplish at all.

Struth Gaming

Read More: Diablo IV: 16 Things The Game Doesn’t Tell You

To be clear, Uber Lilith is a very different beast from ordinary, garden-variety Lilith, the campaign’s final boss. While most players will likely send Lilith packing sooner or later, facing off against Uber Lilith requires first unlocking world tier 4 by completing the second capstone dungeon. She’s also level 100, so you probably want to hit the game’s level cap before you face her, and even If you do, you are in for one hell of a fight.

Oh, and if you’re thinking to yourself, “Sheesh, beating Uber Lilith in 79 seconds? I bet I can top that!” I regret to inform you that that achievement has technically already been done as well. According to GamesRadar, a Diablo IV player managed to beat Uber Lilith in just under a minute a little under a month ago. And before you ask, no, the previous Diablo IV player didn’t manage this insane feat using a necromancer like Straus Gaming. Instead, they beat Lilith in 59 seconds by staggering her with ice-based sorcerer abilities. This just goes to show that it pays to be a part of a shadow wizard money gang that loves casting spells that stagger and damage the hell out of a dommy mommy.

Read More: Diablo IV’s First Season Brings New Eldritch Quests, Gear, And More

Time will tell whether Diablo IV’s upcoming first season, aptly titled Season of the Malignant, will see these classes nerfed for trouncing Lilith and other bosses too easily when it arrives on July 20.


Pulling Call of Duty From Steam Was A ‘Failure’

In a new filing from Microsoft detailing the company’s post-trial “findings” and “conclusions” after its recent victory in court against the Federal Trade Commission the Xbox maker revealed that Call of Duty leaving Steam was part of an Activision plan to grow Battle.net. But according to the docs this controversial move was a “resounding failure.”

In 2018, Activision announced that the PC version of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 would skip Steam and launch exclusively on Blizzard’s Battle.net service. And for about five years, Activision stuck to this plan, even though it frustrated fans. Then in 2022, Activision reversed course and released Call of Duty Modern Warfare II on Steam. Did it do so because it cared so much about the fans and wanted to do something nice? Nah, it turns out the publisher’s plans to grow Battle.net using Call of Duty flopped, and Activision just gave up after a few years of trying.

The information comes from a July 13 court filing from Microsoft that is part of its ongoing legal battle against the FTC as the government entity tries to stop Microsoft from moving ahead with its plans to buy up Activision Blizzard for $69 billion. In the new doc, Microsoft’s legal team uses two examples to show that a “platform” (which includes consoles, digital stores, and streaming game services) doesn’t need Call of Duty to succeed and that “having access” to the popular FPS series doesn’t guarantee success.

Call of Duty leaving Steam didn’t help anyone

Microsoft characterizes Activision’s 2018 decision to make CoD a Battle.net exclusive on PC as a “resounding failure.” The new filing explains that the reasoning behind the controversial move was to “attract users to, and grow,” Activision Blizzard’s own PC game store and launcher, Battle.net. However, this didn’t work, and Battle.net’s monthly active users remained “relatively flat during the period when it had exclusive access” to Call of Duty. Steam’s monthly active user count only grew larger and larger during that same time period, expanding from 67 million users in 2017 to 132 million in 2021.

The point Microsoft’s legal team is trying to make is that Call of Duty isn’t needed to be successful, and even if a platform has it, it doesn’t mean that platform will see a huge increase in customers. So, according to Microsoft, even if it made Call of Duty an Xbox exclusive, which it continues to say it won’t, it wouldn’t matter because there already exist platforms that have succeeded without CoD. 

A screenshot of the Microsoft court filing.

Screenshot: Kotaku

In that same section of the doc, Xbox’s lawyers point to the Switch as another example of how a platform can succeed despite not having access to Call of Duty. Microsoft’s legal team also suggests that if Activision content became exclusive to Xbox, PlayStation maker Sony could respond in various ways, including lowering prices or buying more third-party studios and publishers.

While all of this might be true, it does ignore the fact that even when CoD was exclusive to Battle.net, it was still available to anyone who owned a PC. That wouldn’t be the case for PlayStation owners if the shooter series became an Xbox exclusive.

If you’re tired of all the legal drama and court docs, I’ve got some sad news: It ain’t over quite yet. On Thursday, the FTC appealed the court’s decision from earlier this week that allowed Microsoft and Activision to proceed with the merger. And meanwhile, the Xbox maker still has to deal with the UK’s CMA, which has yet to approve the deal. This ain’t over yet.


FTC Blasted By Congress And Xbox Fans For Doing Its Job

Under chair Lina Khan, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has taken a lot of heat for trying to be aggressive in its approach to regulating tech companies and preventing monopolies. Now the FTC is facing criticism from both Republicans in Congress and very online Xbox fans for appealing a recent court decision that gave Microsoft the greenlight to finish its acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

After losing a preliminary injunction to block the $69 billion merger while it was under review, the FTC filed an appeal on July 12 with the Ninth Circuit. It’s since also requested a stay from the Northern District Court of California to prevent the deal from closing until the appeal is ruled on, as the acqusition’s July 18 deadline looms. “Your tax dollars at work,” tweeted Blizzard president Mike Ybarra, who was previously a longtime corporate VP at Microsoft.

Republicans in Congress took a similar stance. Testifying during an oversight hearing, Khan was hammered by GOP Representatives for pursuing too many antitrust cases and losing many of them. “You seem to be losing quite a bit, and I don’t say that to be disrespectful, but these are, after all, taxpayer funds,” Rep. Kevin Kiley (R-Ca.) said during the hearing (via IGN).

He continued, “The court not only rejected your assertion of a likely anti-competitive effect but found just the opposite. The record evidence points to more consumer access. So why should Americans have faith in your judgment when this Biden-appointed judge says you’re so far off the mark?” Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Ca.), meanwhile, called Kahn a bully for trying to prevent Microsoft from gaining an advantage over its Japanese competitor, Sony.

It didn’t take long for some of the loudest voices in the Xbox community to pile on. “Lina Khan is getting Fried, Roasted, Cooked and Buttered,” wrote influencer UniSensei, retweeting hearing footage like it was an E3 press conference. “OUCH! Maybe keep consumers and competitive markets a priority, and not a political line and you won’t get cooked, Khan,” tweeted YouTuber Colteastwood.

An antitrust scholar appointed to the FTC by President Biden in 2021, Khan was simple and unphased in her responses. “We fight hard when we believe there was a law violation, and unfortunately things don’t always go our way,” she said during the hearing. That is, after all, the agency’s mandate, regardless of what fans, executives, or politicians it might upset.


Genshin Impact Voice Actors Say They’re Not Getting Paid

Genshin Impact is one of the biggest, most successful video games in the world, bringing in tens of millions of dollars a month for developer/publisher miHoYo. However, according to some voice actors involved with the popular game, they don’t get paid for months, and it’s causing some to possibly fall behind on rent.

Launched in 2020, Genshin Impact is a free-to-play gacha-driven online anime-themed action-RPG featuring a large roster of characters who work together to defeat enemies using elemental magic attacks. The game has been a massive hit from the moment it first went live and has spawned a giant community of players around the world. However, despite all the money and success the game has brought developer miHoYo, two voice actors who have worked on the game have publicly shared frustration about their pay on Twitter.

On July 12, Corina Boettger and Brandon Winckler, two voice actors who have voiced characters in Genshin Impact, tweeted how frustrated they were and claimed that money owed to them had yet to be paid months later. Boettger voices popular NPC Paimon and Winckler voices various minor characters in the RPG.

Winckler explained that he has sent five emails to miHoYo asking for the company to pay him, but has yet to receive any response. He said it was “inexcusable” that he has had to wait over four months for his paycheck, while he estimates the publisher brings in over $85 million a month. Between 2020 and 2021, Genshin Impact reportedly generated a total of $3.7 billion.

“It’s really hard to justify working on something for the sake of work when you can’t afford to eat,” tweeted Winckler. “Many non-union productions have this problem, I’ve waited anywhere from four to eight months for payment, and even then, it isn’t much to ask. $1000 here, $500 there, and it adds up fast.”

Winckler added that while he loves working on video games, he won’t be working on Genshin Impact anymore, saying that the game should be a “union production” with a union contract and protections.

Fellow actor Corina Boettger also tweeted about frustrations over lack of pay, saying they had worked for “months” unpaid on a “big project.” Boettger claims they are owed thousands of dollars and is currently struggling to pay rent because of the delayed payments. While Boettger didn’t directly say Genshin Impact in the tweets, follow-up replies make it clear what project the actor is referring to in their public statements.

“This project has made BILLIONS,” said Boettger. “This project should be Union. This wouldn’t happen if the game was union. Tell them to make the game SAG.”

Boettger further added that while they’re not sure if the developers, publisher, or someone else are to blame for the payment issues, they believe that if the game was union none of this would be happening.

Kotaku contacted miHoYo, Boettger, and Winckler for comment, but didn’t hear back before publication.

Unions in the video game industry aren’t as common as in other industries, like film or manufacturing, but that has started to change in recent years. First, QA testers at Call of Duty studio Raven Software unionized, followed by testers at BioWare, Blizzard, and Bethesda. Developers at Proletariat Studio previously tried to unionize everyone at the studio outside of management but were ultimately unsuccessful. And on Monday, Sega of America’s office in Irvine, California successfully voted to unionize.

Outside of Microsoft, no video game publisher has volantarily recognized any of these unions, and Activision has reportedly tried to bust up the unions within its large organization.

Update 07/14/2023 11:05 a.m. ET: A representative from HoyoVerse sent Kotaku a statement in response to the allegations of delayed payments.

“We truly regret to learn about the ongoing situation. Genshin Impact values and respects the work and effort of everyone involved, and we support our voice actors to claim their proper due. We have made payments to our recording studio on time, and we have immediately urged the studio to pay our voice actors. Meanwhile, we are also seeking alternative solutions. We will keep everyone posted on further developments.”

RPG Delays Launch To Avoid Competing With Baldur’s Gate 3

The protagonist of Stray Gods stares at the camera with glowing eyes as someone behind her expresses a look of shock.

Image: Summefall Studios

Summerfall Studios, developers of the upcoming, self-described “roleplaying musical” Stray Gods, has recently taken to Twitter to deliver some unfortunate news for those eager to sing their way out of a fantasy predicament. Stray Gods, which puts you in the role of a woman who must prove her innocence before Greek gods through the magic of song, is getting pushed back a week to an August 10 release date.

But though the news was delivered in the standard image-of-a-letter format that we all know and love, the contents weren’t your typical boilerplate about needing a bit more time to ensure the game is at its best. Nope, this one was very direct: the studio wants to avoid competition with Baldur’s Gate 3 which is slated to launch on August 3, the original release date of Stray Gods. And yes, there are also some technical goals the team is hoping to hit by pushing the release date back a bit.

“We need to make a slight adjustment to the calendar,” the opening of the statement reads before announcing the new release date of August 10. It continues:

We want everyone to have ample space to check out Stray Gods when it launches. Baldur’s Gate 3 is hotly anticipated (by us, too!) and we want to give our fans room to celebrate Stray Gods.

Baldur’s Gate 3 is expected to be a massive RPG experience, so something tells me that folks will still be very deep into it even just seven days after its August 3 launch, but it makes sense for a smaller title to maybe take a heartbeat before hitting storefronts. Or, as one person put it on Twitter, maybe Summerfall Games doesn’t want to hog all the attention for itself.

Summerfall Studios

The delay is also giving the studio some time to work on “performance parity” between consoles and PC so that it runs “as close as possible, across every platform.”

Stray Gods launches on PC, PlayStation, Xbox, and Switch on August 10.

Gaming CEO Shares Nightmare Scenario Of Using AI To Spy On Devs

At least one video game company has considered using large-language model AI to spy on its developers. The CEO of TinyBuild, which publishes Hello Neighbor 2 and Tinykin, discussed it during a recent talk at this month’s Develop:Brighton conference, explaining how ChatGPT could be used to try and monitor employees who are toxic, at risk of burning out, or simply talking about themselves too much.

“This one was quite bizarrely Black Mirror-y for me,” admitted TinyBuild boss Alex Nichiporchik, according to a new report by WhyNowGaming. It detailed ways that transcripts from Slack, Zoom, and various task managers with identifying information removed could be fed into ChatGPT to identify patterns. The AI chatbot would then apparently scan the information for warning signs that could be used to help identify “potential problematic players on the team.”

Nichiporchik took issue with how the presentation was framed by WhyNowGaming, and claimed in an email to Kotaku that he was discussing a thought experiment, and not actually describing practices the company currently employs. “This part of the presentation is hypothetical. Nobody is actively monitoring employees,” he wrote. “I spoke about a situation where we were in the middle of a critical situation in a studio where one of the leads was experiencing burnout, we were able to intervene fast and find a solution.”

While the presentation may have been aimed at the overarching concept of trying to predict employee burnout before it happens, and thus improve conditions for both developers and the projects they’re working on, Nichiporchik also appeared to have some controversial views on why types of behavior are problematic and how best for HR for flag them.

In Nichiporchik’s hypothetical, one thing ChatGPT would monitor is how often people refer to themselves using “me” or “I” in office communications. Nichiporchik referred to employees who talk too much during meetings or about themselves as “Time Vampires.” “Once that person is no longer with the company or with the team, the meeting takes 20 minutes and we get five times more done,” he suggested during his presentation according to WhyNowGaming.

Another controversial theoretical practice would be surveying employees for names of coworkers they had positive interactions with in recent months, and then flagging the names of people who are never mentioned. These three methods, Nichiporchik suggested, could help a company “identify someone who is on the verge of burning out, who might be the reason the colleagues who work with that person are burning out, and you might be able to identify it and fix it early on.”

This use of AI, theoretical or not, prompted swift backlash online. “If you have to repeatedly qualify that you know how dystopian and horrifying your employee monitoring is, you might be the fucking problem my guy,” tweeted Warner Bros. Montreal writer Mitch Dyer. “A great and horrific example of how using AI uncritically has those in power taking it at face value and internalizing its biases,” tweeted UC Santa Cruz associate professor, Mattie Brice.

Corporate interest in generative AI has spiked in recent months, leading to backlashes among creatives across many different fields from music to gaming. Hollywood writers and actors are both currently striking after negotiations with movie studios and streaming companies stalled, in part over how AI could be used to create scripts or capture actors’ likenesses and use them in perpetuity.


Last Of Us Part II Composer Hints That PS5 Upgrade Is Coming

Ellie sits under a tree and plays her guitar.

Image: Naughty Dog / Sony

More Last of Us may be on the way, at least in the form of a “next-gen” PlayStation 5 upgrade for The Last of Us Part II. Composer Gustavo Santaolalla suggested during a recent interview that “new editions” of the game are in the works that would expand on his character’s cameo appearance.

Santaolalla’s character plays only a brief role in the PS4 version of the game, strumming on a banjo in Jackson City. He said in an interview with Blender that the new version of the character will be more interactive, potentially letting players select which music from the game’s soundtrack he plays, according to the Spanish gaming site Vandal (via VGC). He quickly added, however, that he can’t reveal anymore yet.

Kotaku reached out to Naughty Dog for comment.

The musician probably wasn’t even supposed to reveal that much, as there’s been no official tease yet for a new version of The Last of Us Part II. It wouldn’t be a shock that Naughty Dog is working on one though. Sony has been developing PS5 versions of recent PS4 hits like Death Stranding and Ghost of Tsushima, as well as porting some to PC like God of War and Spider-Man: Miles Morales. It would make sense that Part II would be next in line, especially considering the recent success of the HBO adaptation.

In addition to bringing more content, improving visuals and performance, and introducing new accessibility options, “next-gen” upgrades are also a great way for companies to “double-dip” on sales, as outlined in a 2021 report by Bloomberg. Coming out at the tale end of the PS4 console generation, a PS5 port of Part II would be a good way to get it in front of new PlayStation owners who haven’t already played the game using backwards compatibility. It’s also a way to start charging $70 for it.

It’s also the most “new” Last of Us content fans are likely to see in the immediate future. Naughty Dog has been coy about any plans for a Last of Us Part III sequel, and the planned multiplayer spin-off, Last of Us Factions, reportedly hit production snags earlier this year. Season two of HBO’s adaptation is also in limbo at the moment as Hollywood writers and actors go on strike.


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