MrBeast Suing Food Company Over Revolting Burgers

James Donaldson aka MrBeast, one of the most popular YouTube stars in the world, is suing the virtual kitchen company he partnered with after fans complained about poor-quality food being delivered to their homes. MrBeast says that the company sacrificed quality control in order to expand as quickly as possible.

In 2020, MrBeast partnered with Virtual Dining Concepts, a company that specializes in “ghost kitchen” restaurants that use other, established eateries—like Macaroni Grill or Brio Italian Garden—to produce branded items that are then sold via food delivery apps like Uber Eats or Door Dash. In December of 2020, MrBeast Burgers launched around the country and I was tricked into ordering one. (And then the same thing happened to the wonderful and forever great Mike Fahey.) The burger I ordered was pretty bland, not great, and too expensive for what I got in the end. But at least it was cooked and not raw beef slapped on a bun, which is what some fans seem to have received after placing their order for a Beast Burger.

As reported by Bloomberg, MrBeast has sued Virtual Dining, claiming in the lawsuit that his fans have been leaving negative reviews, calling the burgers “disgusting,” “revolting,” and “inedible.” In the lawsuit the influencer states that he complained about the issues but Virtual Dining Concepts didn’t seem to care.

Kotaku has contacted Virtual Dining Concepts about the lawsuit.

MrBeast and his legal team allege in the suit that Virtual Dining Concepts wasn’t concerned about quality issues or angry fans but instead was focused on rapidly expanding its company and using MrBeast Burgers as a way to pitch the idea to other famous actors and celebrities. Since the Beast Burger deal, Virtual Dining Concepts has created similar branded ghost kitchen offerings for NASCAR and Mariah Carey.

It’s also claimed by MrBeast that Virtual Dining Concepts used his image on social media without permission and even registered some trademarks related to his brand that were outside the scope of the contract. MrBeast is asking the court for the right to completely terminate the business deal.

Update 08/01/2023 6:32 p.m. ET: Virtual Dining Concepts sent over a lengthy response to MrBeast’s lawsuit, alleging that it’s filled with “false statements and inaccuracies” while further alleging that the YouTuber recently attempted to negotiate a new deal to “serve his own monetary interests.”

VDC says it refused his “bullying tactics” and in response, MrBeast filed the lawsuit, which VDC says is “ill-advised and meritless.” The ghost-kitchen company says the creator just wants to “terminate his existing contractual obligations without cause.”

“VDC will continue to help the restaurant industry as we work to promptly resolve this unfortunate dispute. We had hoped [MrBeast] would act honorably. Instead, having elevated greed over his word and the truth, he will face the consequences in court when VDC files its claims against him,” it concluded.

Pokémon Company Gives Us What We Want: Penny’s Eevee Backpack

Penny is shown standing in the middle of a track field.

Screenshot: The Pokémon Company / Kotaku

Ever since Pokémon Scarlet and Violet launched last year, a subset of fans have been asking for one particular piece of merchandise: Penny’s Eevee backpack. The satchel Penny wears throughout the game is made to look like the normal-type fox Pokémon, and given that Eevee is one of the franchise’s mascots, I’m surprised it took The Pokémon Company this long to capitalize on its popularity. But it finally has, and Penny’s Eevee backpack is up for sale…albeit only in Japan, for now.

The Eevee backpack is part of a “Paldea Pokémon Trainers” merch line made up of products based on characters in Scarlet and Violet. This includes replica items, such as the electric-type gym leader Iono’s hair bow and Elite Four member Rika’s gloves. These accessories will launch in Japan on September 16, and the Eevee bag will run ¥6,930 (roughly $47 USD). But as of this writing, there doesn’t seem to be any word on a western launch. You can try keeping an eye on the Pokémon Center website, but it seems like this is a Japan-only promotion for the moment. If you’d rather not risk missing out on it, you can likely import it through third-party sellers. For the rest of us, we can simply bask in its glory.

A product image shows Penny's Eevee bag, and it rules.

Image: The Pokémon Company

Personally, I’m bummed this line isn’t highlighting Professor Turo, the best character in the game. Just give me a little Turo plush, Pokémon Company. Or just anything that acknowledges the existence of the hot professor. I’m offering you money, but the only merchandise that exists of him is in the trading cards. For shame.

The Pokémon Company will have a handful of new characters to add to Scarlet and Violet’s merchandise lines when the RPGs’ two-part DLC launches, starting next month with The Teal Mask on September 13. The second part, The Indigo Disk, is slated to come out sometime later in 2023.

Yet Another Rockstar Games Veteran Has Left The Company

Michael Unsworth, a senior writer at Rockstar Games who has worked on some of the company’s biggest hits, appears to have left the famous developer after 16 years. He joins a growing list of veteran Rockstar employees who have departed the company over the last few years.

Rockstar Games—the developer and publisher behind mega-blockbuster games like Grand Theft Auto V and Red Dead Redemption II--is a studio known (for better and for worse) as having its own unique and distinct identity. And many assumed that specific “brand” came from the long-running employees at the company’s top. So it is interesting to see yet another Rockstar vet leave the storied studio before the release of its next massive project, Grand Theft Auto VI.

According to a recent update on the writer’s LinkedIn page, as first spotted by SWEGTA on August 26, Unsworth has seemingly left Rockstar Games. He had been the company’s vice president of writing. Before holding that position he was the senior creative writer and then writing director at Rockstar Games, where he worked on the scripts for Red Dead Redemption II, Grand Theft Auto V, Max Payne 3, L.A. Noire, Red Dead Redemption, and Grant Theft Auto IV.

On Unsworth’s LinkedIn profile, you can now see that he left Rockstar sometime in 2023. His bio also indicates that he has indeed left the studio after over a decade and a half. Kotaku has contacted Rockstar Games about Unsworth’s departure.

The other Rockstar vets who have already left

While it’s not uncommon for longtime employees to leave companies, even successful ones, it has become a bit of a trend for Rockstar Games in the last few years. In 2020, both Lazlow Jones and Dan Houser left the popular studio. Jones was a longtime producer and writer who had been with Rockstar for nearly 20 years and worked on every GTA game since GTA III. Houser was the co-founder of Rockstar Games and had been a part of the company since 1998, touching nearly every game the company had ever published or developed.

In 2016, a few years before those departures, longtime Rockstar North president Leslie Benzies left the company after he claimed he was pushed out and filed a lawsuit against Rockstar. The suit ended in 2019 with a confidential settlement.

Looking online, you’ll see some fans nervous or worried about Rockstar’s future and what these departures will mean for GTA VI and future titles. However, change isn’t always a bad thing. Some of these guys had been around a long time and were probably ready to do something different. And as new folks take over Rockstar Games it could mean the company’s style evolves in positive ways, leading to better games that might come out sooner. One can hope.

Epic Chief, Fortnite Loremaster Leaving Company After 7 Years

A screenshot shows Fortnite players waving goodbye to a floating bus.

Image: Epic Games

Donald Mustard is leaving Epic Games. Mustard was a driving force behind Fortnite’s success and the chief creative officer at Epic Games for the last seven years.

On September 8, via a post on Twitter, Mustard announced the surprising news, explaining that after an “incredible adventure” he was retiring from his role as CCO at Epic later this month.

“I am humbled to have been a part of the team that every day tries to bring ‘joy and delight’ to the Fortnite community,” said Mustard.

“I can’t wait to now share in the future of Fortnite as a player alongside all of you! The teams are in the best hands and they are working on huge, jaw-dropping, amazing things!!!”

Mustard’s history with Epic Games

The departing CCO joined Epic in 2008 after the large company purchased Chair Entertainment, a Salt Lake City-based video game studio founded by Mustard in 2005. The studio’s first game was Undertow, and it later found success with 2009’s Shadow Complex. It also developed the Infinity Blade series of mobile RPGs.

“I have enjoyed nearly 25 years in the game industry collaborating with some of the most talented people ever and I am so proud of what we have made together,” tweeted Mustard. “I am especially proud of the opportunity I’ve had to help create and shape Fortnite.”

“Thanks for amazing times and accomplishments at Epic,” replied Epic CEO Tim Sweeney.

While with Epic Games, Mustard oversaw Fortnite’s massive explosion into a pop-culture juggernaut. He was also well known for interacting with the game’s large community of players, often teasing future updates or crossovers ahead of their official announcements.

Mustard hasn’t publicly announced what his next job or career move is, though we do know what the outgoing CCO plans to do next. In his statement announcing his departure, Mustard said he was “excited to spend time” with his wife and family.

Bethesda Exec Pete Hines Leaving Company After 24 Years

Bethesda publishing head Pete Hines is retiring from the Starfield developer after 24 years, he announced on Twitter (or X) on October 16. Hines’ decision comes only a few days after Microsoft, which owns Bethesda Game Studios, was rubber-stamped to complete its $69 billion Activision Blizzard buy.

“I […] will begin an exciting new chapter of my life exploring interests and passions, donating my time where I can, and taking more time to enjoy life,” Hines wrote. “This was not a decision I came to easily or quickly, but after an amazing career, culminating in the incredible launch of Starfield, it feels like the time is right.”

“This is certainly not goodbye by any means,” Hines continued. “Working with the amazing people, teams, and studios at Bethesda has been the greatest experience of my life. […] Love you guys.” Kotaku reached out to Hines for comment.

Bethesda was equally gushing in its own Twitter announcement post, saying “Pete’s public presence was only a small part of his role at Bethesda, although the way he represented us carried over into the values he nurtured here: authenticity, integrity, and passion.” Later, the developer posted a doctor’s note addressed to Hines (in the past, he’s liked pardoning gamers from work during a huge Bethesda release cycle), prescribing him “lots of gaming, devoting care and affection to foster pups, […] and of course…more games!” It’s an interesting treatment plan, but it seems like it could work for Hines, who sunk 130 hours into Starfield earlier this year.

Read More: Microsoft Finally Closes Massive Activision Blizzard Deal, Making Call Of Duty Officially Part Of Xbox Now

“More games” are also likely in Bethesda’s future—Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard merger promises to “bring players together,” Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer wrote on Twitter, and along with the franchises it’s absorbing, it will add 10,000 employees to its union-neutral workforce. 10,000 employees, but Pete Hines ain’t one.

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