Oh, hello there. Nice to see you. Yes, it’s once again time for Replay , WIRED’s look at the world of videogames. This week, gaming achieved a new, weird kind of crossover success, Notch became a bit less visible as Minecraft's creator, and the scourge of industry layoffs continued apace. Here we go!
Ninja Is Being Immortalized in the Classic American Art Form of the Red Bull Can
Leonardo da Vinci. Picasso. Red Bull. All the great chroniclers of the human form have had their muses, and now, Twitch streamer Ninja is among them. Well, the last one, anyway. In a sponsorship deal for the ages, Ninja , Fortnite player and friend of Drake, will be the next face to adorn cans of Red Bull energy drinks.
This is kind of hilarious, but that’s not the only reason it's newsworthy. This is the type of sponsorship deal normally reserved for athletes, movie stars, and big media franchises. And now, we've got Ninja, a dude who makes his living playing videogames for an audience. If that isn't crossover success, nothing is.
Minecraft Minimizes Mentions of Creator Notch
With Notch, the creator of Minecraft, spending his time on the internet promoting conspiracy theories and generally being kind of a jerk, it was inevitable that Microsoft, the current owners of Minecraft, would eventually want to distance their product from its creator. With the current update, they've done that—to an extent. Notch's name used to appear regularly on splash screens that played while loading, but according to reports by Kotaku, all those mentions have been removed.
Notch still appears in the credits, naturally, but that's about the only mention of him left in the game. Which is probably for the best. You have to think of the children, after all.
Electronic Arts Lays Off Some 4 Percent of Its Employees
It never ends. More downsizing hit the games industry this week as Electronic Arts announced that it's laying off about 350 of its 9,000 workers worldwide. According to an open letter from CEO Andrew Wilson, the layoffs are part of an effort to produce high-quality content and to ratchet down the company's involvement in Japan and Russia.
Adding this to the layoffs from Activision Blizzard , ArenaNet, and others, the amount of displaced game workers from this year alone adds up to well over a thousand. I don't really have anything pithy to add to this. That's just … a lot of people. Too many.
Recommendation of the Week: Wargroove on Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PC
Wargroove is by far the cutest tactics game. Taking a grid-based approach to strategic warfare reminiscent of Fire Emblem, it's all bright colors and quirky units, including a warrior general dog and cute cavalry units that are, uh, also dogs. There are a lot of dogs in this game. And plant monsters, and vampires, and heroes, and villains of all stripes. The tactical combat is crisp and challenging, and the whole experience is just broadly pleasing. If you're into this sort of game and can't wait for a new Fire Emblem to drop later this year, give this a shake.
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