Virtual Legality #44 – Kotaku Adds Another Note to Bioware’s Discordant Anthem

Kotaku’s Jason Schreier once again brings us into the world of how the video game sausage gets made, as he dives deep into the tumultuous development history of Bioware’s Anthem.

Why was Anthem’s traversal, gameplay, and even name changed at the last minute?

What forces, both internal and external, led to the release of the lowest rated game in Bioware’s history?

What did Bioware have to say about Kotaku’s article?

And why does Bioware’s messaging on this do more to evidence its communications issues than it does to refute them?

We’ve got a lot to say about this one folks.


Continue reading “Virtual Legality #44 – Kotaku Adds Another Note to Bioware’s Discordant Anthem”
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Virtual Legality #38 – Lucasfilm Games, Electronic Arts, and the Future of Star Wars

With new job postings being made by Lucasfilm and Disney to staff up “Lucasfilm Games”, questions abound as to just what role Disney intends to have in the future of Star Wars video game production.

What is Lucasfilm Games, and what do the job postings have to say about the relationship between Disney and licensees like Electronic Arts?

How does an exclusive license to intellectual property (IP) work, when might Disney be able to get out of it, and most importantly, would it even want to?

What is brand management, and why do the job descriptions for the positions at Lucasfilm Games suggest a more robust licensor/licensee relationship rather than the opposite?

And what does it all mean for Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and the rest of the Lucasfilm portfolio?


Continue reading “Virtual Legality #38 – Lucasfilm Games, Electronic Arts, and the Future of Star Wars”

Virtual Legality #27-2 Update: Sponsored by EA?

More twists and turns in the continuing story of just what happened to GGGManLives’ Anthem Review!

What does Electronic Arts claim to have happened?

What is the difference between “Game Changers” and “Sponsored” Content?

And why does a video exist with absolutely NO disclosures, if the issue (as claimed by EA) was that EA paid for its creation?

Continue reading “Virtual Legality #27-2 Update: Sponsored by EA?”

Game Changer! Did EA force influencer to violate False Advertising Laws?

With reports that content creator “Gggmanlives”, a member of Electronic Arts’ own paid-affiliate “Game Changers” program, was asked to remove EA-identifying watermarks from his negative review of Bioware’s Anthem, controversy surrounding the video game publisher’s use of influencers as de facto arms of its marketing department continues to swirl.

What seems to have actually happened here?

What is the Electronic Arts Game Changers Program?

And if EA actually made this request, why might it have caused itself (and Gggmanlives) many, many more problems?


Continue reading “Game Changer! Did EA force influencer to violate False Advertising Laws?”

Scalebound on Nintendo? IP, Contract, and Trademark Law

Rumors swirl of a long-dead game being revived for Nintendo’s Switch platform, with Microsoft and PlatinumGames’ abandoned Scalebound project leading the guesses.

Could Scalebound actually come to Nintendo’s Switch?

What do intellectual property rights and contract law mean for how such a project might take shape?

And why does an abandoned trademark tell less than half of this particular story?

Continue reading “Scalebound on Nintendo? IP, Contract, and Trademark Law”

Virtual Legality Extra – It’s About Ethics in Games Journalism…

Gamergate long ago scorched the earth of having a reasonable conversation about journalistic practices in gaming and beyond, but…what if it hadn’t?

In our first Virtual Legality Extra, we dive headlong into the conversation started again this past week by The Escapist and Russ Pitts, including a discussion of the comments being made by some the industry’s most popular journalists.

Can we separate out harassment from message?

What place does politics have in the conversation?

And why does the rise of the “influencer” make the consideration of ethics more important than ever?

Continue reading “Virtual Legality Extra – It’s About Ethics in Games Journalism…”

Hoeg Law’s 2018 Game of the Year Countdown

2018 has been a great year for media of all types.  Whether you’re a fan of TV, cinema, or the written word, chances are something (or more than a single something) was made practically just for you. 

As our first love here at Hoeg Law is and always will be interactive digital entertainment (or, you know, “video games”), please join us in celebrating the end of 2018 with this list of our favorite games from the past year.

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10. Red Dead Redemption 2

Certain to raise the ire of some fans, Red Dead Redemption 2 comes in first…to be mentioned in Hoeg Law’s 2018 Game of the Year Rankings, in the number 10 slot.

Rockstar’s latest open world magnum opus is nothing if not grand.  Grand vistas, grand scale, the grand plans of its characters dashed on the rocky shores of a world unwilling to allow them to come to fruition.  Again, and again, and again, and again.

While there is little doubt that Red Dead Redemption 2 features fulsomely drawn characters traveling through interesting and meticulous detailed locales, its relatively thin narrative plotting (as opposed to characterization) struggles to support the massive infrastructure upon which it is built throughout the games 60+ hour running time.

In other words, if you thought Breaking Bad’s pacing was slow, well, “Saddle Up, Partner” because Rockstar’s got another gear slower to show you.

But that’s far too negative (and just goes to explain why RDR2 appears this low on the list.)

Never has a video game world felt more “solid” and “real” then the world of Red Dead Redemption 2.  Featuring by far the best graphics we’ve ever seen, from the mountains to the prairies, from dusty Valentine to the soot and smog of Saint Denis, if you are looking to have your own Westworld virtual tourism experience, Red Dead Redemption 2 is the place for you.

And since it features one of our favorite musical scores of the year, you’ll be enjoying aural pleasures to go along with the visual.

In terms of gameplay, Red Dead is pedestrian but serviceable.  Ride with interesting character to point X.  Shoot bad guys at point X (and maybe Y).  Ride back with interesting character.  Repeat for 60 hours.  But that’s too reductive. The real beauty is in the “in-between”.

The sounds of thunder coming over the mountains as the buffalo scatter before you.  The look of a stream in the first light of morning as a passenger train passes by.  The hustle and bustle of a turn of the century city that feels endless in possibility.

Narrative is absolutely important in games, and Red Dead 2 might well have been better off if it cut a 60 hour story down to 20, but that’s only half the tale.  The world of Red Dead Redemption 2 is the other half, and it is just an absolutely stunning, wonderful, and immersive place to visit.

All of which makes Red Dead Redemption 2 a more than worthy inclusion on this list. Continue reading “Hoeg Law’s 2018 Game of the Year Countdown”