News: State of Rhode Island Looks to Foul Schilling

38 Studios Logo
Imagine how much money Schilling could lose if he actually owned thirty-eight studios.

Curt Schilling Is Being Sued by Rhode Island

The State of Rhode Island, by way of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (RIEDC), has launched legal action against the former head of 38 Studios, Curt Schilling. Rhode Island Governor, Lincoln Chafee, has retained the services of lawyer, Max Wistow, in order to ascertain the strength of their case against Schilling. While Chafee professes to be fighting like a bloody martyr in his attempts to claw back the tax money of the good folks of Rhode Island, in reality their tax money is long gone, and this move bares all the hallmarks of a vindictive political fix.

“I know you work hard for your paychecks, and for your tax dollars to be squandered is unacceptable. The board’s legal action was taken to rectify a grave injustice put upon the people of Rhode Island.”

While one is loathe to in anyway support the hapless floundering of 38 Studios, it is nevertheless the case that the grave injustice visited upon the tax payers of Rhode Island was of the State of Rhode Island’s own making. 38 Studios was never going to be able to pay back the entirety of their 78m loan on the strength of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, and one suspects that the aim of said loan was to boost employment, rather than to reap a dividend from 38 Studio’s output. It is also the case that Lincoln Chafee was (supposedly) a harsh critic of the loan, and thus once in office he saw fit to call in Schilling’s debt at the earliest possible convenience, making the failure of his studio all but assured. One suspects that the Man found much pleasure in making an abject lesson of his predecessor’s largesse. At any rate, due diligence was not adhered to when drafting the loan, and so the State of Rhode Island must now wear their bad debt.

The Secret World from Funcom
Dark days indeed.

Ragnar Tornquist To Delve into Another Secret World

Any gamer with a greater than passing interest in the point and click adventure genre is likely to be familiar with a little game known as The Longest Journey, and chances are fair that their memories of it will be fond ones. The game was quite rudimentary in its mechanics, yet gained strong acclaim for its enthralling narrative and visual elements. The game’s reception was strong enough to warrant a sequel, Dreamfall, yet nothing has been heard from the franchise these last six years, owing to the fact that series creator, Ragnar Tornquist, was busy at work on Funcom’s ailing MMO, The Secret World.

Such was the current state of affairs until this week when Tornquist announced that work had begun on a new project in the series titled Dreamfall Chapters. Tornquist claims that he has had to create his own studio, Red Thread Games, for this endeavour, owing to Funcom’s ongoing commitment to MMO gaming. He has apparently come to an agreement with Funcom on a profit-sharing model to license the Dreamfall property, and plans to finance the project independently, or at least that is what he is alleging.

Ragnar Tornquist is in fact full of shit, as a later interview with Rock, Paper, Shotgun would amply demonstrate. Tornquist currently has a small core of designers working on the game design, which has been paid for with a grant from the Norwegian government – yet when scrutinised on his independent funding bona fides, Ragnar Tornquist quickly admitted that once planning had matured, the firm would seek to finance the project via Kickstarter. Just like everyone bloody else.

While one will be glad to receive another entry in the Dreamfall series, it is nevertheless quite appalling to see all the developers of the world gorging themselves on free money, like so many pigs in a trough. One must additionally question whether this is truly an independent endeavour, given Tornquist’s continuing employ as the creative director of The Secret World over at Funcom. There is every possibility that the studio’s independent credentials may just be lipstick on the proverbial pig, while a mature development studio attempts to extract free money for their upcoming commercial venture.

Feminist-liberal meme: equality should be enforced
“First we seize their Halo, and then it is WE who shall control the Male brain!”

Sexist Behaviour in Halo 4 Will Incur Lifetime Ban

Xbox Live has long had a reputation as a villainous hive of gender discrimination, homophobia, racism, and any manner of far flung invective. Now it would seem that one Woman has had enough, and will bring the clandestine patriarchy of Xbox Live’s normative gender paradigm to heel, in service of a very particular cause. Sexist language or behaviour will see users incur a lifetime ban from Halo 4‘s multiplayer, and that is the beginning and the end of it.

343 Industries’ resident Woman out of the kitchen, Bonnie Ross, is not at all impressed with the encroaching phallic power construct instituted by the unreconstructed cis-male normative gender bros who are the game’s overwhelmingly predominant audience. She feels very strongly that “This is behavior that is offensive and completely unacceptable. I’d like to think most of our Xbox Live players don’t support this kind of behavior.”

While it is a studio’s prerogative to define their community’s standards of conduct, it would have been nice if 343 Industries had at least started from a position of universalisable mutual respect, rather than merely addressing their own myopic pet peeve. Women may well bristle at suggestions that they should craft for Men a delicious ‘sammich’, but then one is equally certain that there are a heck of a lot of grown Men who are not overly enamoured with being called a ‘fagget’ by thirteen year old arseclowns. An overarching framework of respectful interaction may have done wonders in fostering a sense of belonging in the Halo 4 community, but instead of that 343 Industries has elected to embrace the division of partisan gender politics. At any rate, it is perhaps a trifle pointless to attempt to enforce a regime of good behaviour when that is clearly not what the game’s predominant userbase wants. Such over-regulation is particularly redundant with the gated community of the Wii U upon the horizon.

13 comments

  1. @SN: I’m not at all impressed by the intensifying bellyacheing that women have a rough deal playing FPS games–not because it isn’t true, but because (as you rightly notice) it manages to obliterate the fact that there are other groups who, too, suffer discriminatory conduct. As you point out, starting from an equal position is better than coming in with the ban hammer to tackle one particular bugaboo.

    Of course, I think censorship–even of hateful speech–is absolutely fucking nonsensical. The ideal option is just to give people an ignore button or something similar. It’s managed to work for WoW for years and years, as it has in TF2.

  2. I’m never a fan of censorship in any circumstances, but if it must exist, then I would prefer that it were applied equally.

    No one has the right to not be offended.

  3. As long as it’s not government imposed then I don’t really mind communities setting their own standards of conduct. They should be up front about it though. And if those standards are retarded and dickish I’ll certainly criticize them as such.

    I’m still kind of puzzled by the online or over the phone harassment and/or intimidation. In person you can be physically injured or killed. If somebody calls you mean names over the phone you can just…hang up? And Force Choking people via remote communications only works in Star Wars. I don’t get it.

  4. @EP: I used to think similarly, but I am becoming more convinced that people being allowed to set anti-free-speech standards in their non-governmental-but-still-very-public-fora leads to people expecting that they have a right to be mollycoddled all the time, including by the legal system.

    The mentality seems to be:

    “They can’t say mean things to me on Xbox Live, so why should they be allowed to say them online, or on the street, or *at all*? I will bitch and carp about this until someone makes a law outlawing people saying things I disagree with!”

    To which the right and honourable response is a swift punch directly to the middle of the face, but as this is also illegal, I recommend calling them a STUPID THUNDERCUNT, and then reminding them that any law that can be used to outlaw one set of speech instantly sets a precedent, even unintentionally, and can therefore be used to outlaw another.

    NO erosion of free speech is acceptable. Full stop. That is, and ever will be, my opinion, and the opinion of this site, and is one of the incontrovertible rules of working here. We don’t employ people who think otherwise, because we don’t employ blockheads.

  5. To clarify my position – I don’t believe that censorship is ever right when objectable material is presented in the correct light, and I DO believe that I have the obligation to criticise it in all of its instances, yet I don’t believe that I have the right to determine the community standards of a third party entity.

    This is the only position that I can take in order to be consistent with the standards of Lusipurr.com. As a rule we do not tend to impugn readers for expressing themselves, yet we have blocked certain malcontent former staff-members in order to keep our house in order.

  6. Free speech for people that want to say faggot and cunt on Xbox! Censorship for gaming blog commenters!

  7. How do you guys feel this factors into bullying? That is, people making concerted and/or repeated efforts to verbally abuse specific people online, over the phone, or by other electronic means. This usually is combined with a physical presence of bullying as well, but the electronic component can be just as traumatic. And I know that this is very different from a random person calling another random person a slur once, then the receiver claiming “abuse”.

    However, there do exist penalties for certain speech in certain places in the US. In that way speech is not exactly free. It is limited. There’s a balancing act here between equality and liberty, as there always is. Specifically, the equality of well being (physically and mentally) and the liberty of speech.

    No one should be permitted to say “fire” in a crowded theater, but no one should be punished for saying “cunt” in Halo 4 either. Distinctions have to be drawn and agreed upon as there is no simple all or nothing solution.

  8. As usual, when Mel opens his mouth, nonsense comes out. In this case, it is equivocation. Well done, Mel. I did not expect him to drag SN along with him, though. So, I suppose it is time for a lesson in PERFORMATIVITY!

    Mel, the Constitution only appears to grant free speech. This has been rendered over the course of many rulings by the Supreme Court to mean free political speech. Quite apart from this–and much more significantly–the *content* of speech is entirely different from its *performative* role.

    What does this mean? Well, it means largely what the fucktard troll above fails to notice: that you can have a restriction against a performative act (even a speech act), but not curtail the right to freedom of speech sans performativity. This may be complex if one is not familiar with the terms, so I will provide a handy example.

    Some–but not all–speech is performative. This means that, apart from its content, the speech itself also *does* something. Consider, for example, a speech which explicitly incites the members of its audience to commit an illegal act (such as, say, murdering the president). This speech is not merely the content, it is also entreating an illicit act (assassination), and performing an act (conspiracy). The content of the speech is not what is restricted, but rather the act of conspiracy (which the speech performs by inciting people to assassination).

    Mel mentions the shouting of “fire” in a crowded theatre–this is another example of performativity. Such a speech act is also performative; in our culture, we understand it to be an imperative equivalent of “this building is on fire; run for the exits”. And, in this case, doing so in a situation where there is not a fire is also a performative act–the wanton endangering of life and property.

    Constantly trolling a message board and trying to disrupt the working of a site is a performative act. Consequently, people get banned for it. They are not banned because of the content of what they say (which is often not particularly bad in any case), but rather because of what they are using the comments to *do*. Again, an instance of performativity rather than speech content.

    Calling someone a “cunt” on Halo is not an illicit performative act. Now, griefing an individual user constantly, or engaging others so to do, that could well constitute harassment (again, not because of what is said, but rather, what is done) and, in such a case, a ban would certainly be appropriate. However, that is very different from saying, “All instances of people saying cunt will result in a ban,” because such a stance does not differentiate between the mere content of speech (the word cunt) and the performativity of speech (as a tool for genuine harassment). One can certainly call someone a cunt without engaging in an illicit performative act with that speech; and one can engage in a series of illicit performative speech acts without ever uttering a naughty word or stepping one foot into obscenity.

    Confusing the two is what I have a problem with. The freedom of speech is absolutely sacred. However, there are (and ought to be) limits on performative speech in certain situations, some of which you rightly note (and which no sensible person disagrees with).

  9. Good news everyone! December is Lusipurr and Mel shall fight with knives month! Mel shall wield a shotel and Lusipurr shall wield a kukri as he is wont to do! A gold star to all readers who know what either of those weapons look like (prior to the stabbery).

    Also, Chrome thinks Lusipurr should be spelled “Spurring” for some reason.

  10. @EP: I think a shotel looks like a small single hand deeply curved blade, like a halfmoon with a straight handle at the end. If that isn’t right, then Demon’s Souls lied to me! No idea what a kukri looks like.

    And perhaps I might take up arms against Lusi, but I’m afraid his response was too informative and well written for me to do so. But, there’s still a month before December. Who knows what will happen.

    @Lusi: Why did that troll guy’s name change? And how?

  11. So now it seems MS has stated they AREN’T instituting any special rules regarding bans in Halo 4?

  12. @Mel: I haven’t the faintest idea what you are talking about. Hilarious about MS no longer instituting special rules–though I expect their reasoning is driven by profit considerations, not those of freedom of expression.

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