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If you haven't seen it yet, this Iwata tribute video has been making the rounds on Twitter and other social media today. Check it out; it's pretty touching. Kind of amazing how most of us never realized how much Iwata contributed to Nintendo and gaming in general until it was too late.
Creative Assembly have been creating the Total War series of games since the initial launch of Shogun: Total War in 2000. Since then they have expanded to others such as Medieval times, Rome, and Napoleonic war. However, something they have never done is create a free to play title. Of course this means they have finally announced one. Total War: Arena is a F2P game that sets its sights on the MOBA genre but infuses it with more RTS elements to keep the Total War feel intact. Creative Assembly primarily decided to take this method with the game because it requires masses of players to work best (matches to be 10 versus 10). Having a game available for free should definitely help in that regard. So far, no setting has been announced for the game world. One thing exciting about the prospect of Arena is that they may pull from the locations of their past games, or entirely new ones, to showcase battles between very distinct armies. If you're interested in playing Total War: Arena, the official site has beta applications open right now.
You would think that with so much attention put on sexism in games and gaming culture over the past few months and year would count for something, but instead, it seems that business as usual remains unchanged. Last night at GDC, the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) had a party. Sounds good, except for the fact that the group that sponsored the event, YetiZen, brought a group of severely under-dressed women to dance for the visitors. There were probably people in attendance who did enjoy watching the women, but considering this event still took place during Game Developer's Conference - a noted business/industry event - it feels entirely out of place. It seems even weirder when you consider that the IGDA has a subset focused on women in games as well as promotes themselves as "advocating on behalf of [our] members to ensure quality of life" and "perpetuation of [our] craft". Earlier in the day, they had even hosted advocacy talks which included panelists such as Jane McGonigal and Anita Sarkeesian. As you might expect, word traveled fast about the uncomfortable atmosphere at the IGDA event. The co-chair of the IGDA Women in Games Special Interest Group, Brenda Romero, has since stepped down from her position. Along with her went former IGDA board member Darius Kazemi, although he was also nearing the end of his term. Until now, Romero had been a strong and vocal advocate for the IGDA WIG group but she could not allow herself to be complicit with this controversy. Others are rescinding support for the IGDA in light of these events as well. IGDA Executive Kate Edwards has said this in response: "We recognize that some of the performers' costumes at the party were inappropriate, and also some of the activities they peformed were not what we expected or approved. We regret that the IGDA was involved in this situation. We do not condone activities that objectify or demean women or any other group of people. One of the core values of the IGDA is encouraging inclusion and diversity. Obviously we need to be more vigilant in our efforts. We intend to be so in the future."