Picture of a gaming controller.
Dec 2, 2021

Axios Gaming

Lots of shaking and breaking today with Megan. Shall we get started?

Today's edition is 1,086 words ... 4 minutes.

1 big thing: Battlefield shakeup

Image courtesy of Electronic Arts

The Battlefield franchise is set for change as Electronic Arts and its studio DICE reshuffle teams in the wake of Battlefield 2042's rocky launch.

Driving the news: GameSpot reports DICE GM Oskar Gabrielson will leave the company, while Respawn Entertainment co-founder and EA manager Vince Zampella will assume a larger role.

  • Gabrielson has been with DICE for more than a decade and has worked on games such as Battlefield 4, Battlefield: Hardline and Star Wars: Battlefront. On Twitter, he called his departure "one of the hardest decisions of my life."
  • He will remain with the company for a few more months to help former Ubisoft Annecy (France) managing director Rebecka Coutaz transition into his former role.
  • Halo co-creator Marcus Lehto will build a new, Seattle-based studio to work alongside DICE and EA Ripple Effect on Battlefield's expanding narrative.

EA will "grow significantly," according to Zampella, as teams continue to work on Battlefield 2042, as well as new experiences.

Catch up quick: Battlefield 2042's advance release and subsequent launch have been rife with bugs, missing features and performance issues.

  • DICE continues to roll out updates for it, including its third fix today.

Why it matters: The shuffling of longtime talent has big implications for the series and introduces opportunities for fresh avenues.

What's next: EA also announced it's working on a "connected Battlefield universe," on top of its work on Battlefield 2042.

  • "In this universe, the world is interconnected with shared characters and narrative," Zampella told GameSpot, adding that it's "built with our community as we harness the power of Portal and user generated content that puts creativity in the hands of our players."
  • It will be developed by studios in North America and Europe, across several games.
2. A new gaming handheld, perhaps

A developer-targeted device running the Snapdragon G3x gaming platform. Image: Qualcomm/Razer

Gaming hardware company Razer and mobile chipmaker Qualcomm are teaming up to produce a handheld gaming platform called Snapdragon G3x, Stephen writes.

Why it matters: Should it make it to consumers in the form of finished devices, this will be yet another option for people who want a portable gaming machine that has physical controls and can connect to a display at home.

  • Qualcomm isn’t sharing specs but is demoing a controller-and-screen platform that will run HD games at 120 frames per second, support a 5G connection, connect to displays via a USB-C port and have a battery life of over three hours even at higher specs.
  • It’s an Android system, making it inherently capable of playing games for that mobile platform, including those that can stream to Android via, say, Xbox Game Pass.
  • Touch-based Android games will be able to support tech that maps commands to the device’s controllers, since its touch screen will be tricky to reach while players clutch the edges of the device.

What it’s not: A Switch or a Valve Steam Deck, which are the incumbent and incoming major hybrid gaming gadgets.

  • Those are more for the console-first or PC-first crowds, Qualcomm director of product management Micah Knapp told Axios.
  • ”If you want to be handheld and mobile/cellularly connected and you want to tap into the very largest portion of the gaming market, then this is the device to go with,” he said.

What’s next: Qualcomm and Razer’s newly revealed machine is dubbed a developer kit meant to show what the 3Gx platform can do. It is not necessarily what consumers will get.

  • The platform has no release date nor price, as the manufacturers expect a range of supported devices to be made at different specs.
  • They’re also not announcing any exclusive games, expecting the platform to drive interest from developers first.

In other news: Razer’s leadership team is considering taking the company private.

3. GameStop's labor problem

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

GameStop workers say they’re struggling with long hours, poor pay and work conditions challenging to their mental health.

Why it matters: High demand for current consoles makes stores like GameStop a huge part of the holiday rush — bad news for employees who may need breaks.

The details: A new report from Kotaku details some of the stress employees are under as many struggle through understaffing issues or contemplate quitting.

  • One manager told Kotaku, “Every store is held together by tape and glue.”
  • Turnover is at an all-time high, the outlet reports: “They’ve got kids" running these stores, one store manager said.

On Reddit, GameStop employees say their stores are not being given the hours to properly schedule their employees.

  • “They're asking us to basically be warehouse workers and run our stores at the same time,” one wrote.
  • ”It literally doesn’t make sense. We are open from 10am to 9pm,” another wrote. “It’s beyond busy. We are behind on every task, and they want us to cut hours.”
4. Need to know

👋 Say goodbye to Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl's duplication glitch, which allowed players to clone pokémon, as part of the game's latest update.

🎮 Former Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime is heading a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) that will focus on gaming and the creator economy as part of UTA Acquisition Corporation.

5. Worthy of your attention
  • The quest to make an AI that can play competitive Pokémon (Jay Castello, The Verge)
An AI can beat a chess grandmaster. An AI can become the StarCraft esports champion. But creating an AI that could play Pokémon at the competitive level has been a more elusive problem.
Thanks to the variety of monsters, stats, moves, and items, a Pokémon battle has hundreds of thousands of factors for any player — or machine — to consider. But that hasn’t stopped some people from trying. Most recently, Future Sight AI, created by computer scientist Albert III, successfully made it into the top 5 percent of the competitive ladder.
6. Kill kill kill, murder murder murder

Image courtesy of Spike Chunsoft

If you're looking for a new game, Spike Chunsoft's Danganronpa series launches on the Switch tomorrow as a bundle with the original trilogy and a new bonus game, titled Danganronpa Decadence.

  • The trilogy — Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair and Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony — follow a group of extraordinary high school students, locked onto campus and forced to either kill or be killed to escape.

It's a mix of socializing, puzzles and amateur detective work, but the draw is less about high school drama and more about the whodunnit of it all.

  • The best parts are when you find out someone's dead — how it happened and whether it was a character you've grown to love.

Danganronpa Decadence brings the series to Switch for the first time.

  • The trilogy was originally a PlayStation Vita series, before coming to other platforms like PlayStation 4 and Steam.

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🐦 Find us on Twitter: @megan_nicolett / @stephentotilo.

If we were trapped in a murder high school, I'd kill you last. ❤️