The Good, The Bad, The Therapeutic

This week in gaming news…

Indie dev gets review bombed on Steam after slipping anti-mask rhetoric in patch notes
The most recent patch notes for indie game Domina featured an angry rant from the developer DolphinBarn, hidden between legitimate updates.  The tirade shared his opinions on mask-mandates and covid-19.

“​​TAKE OFF THE FCKN MASKS,” the patch notes say between legitimate patch updates. “Next time you’re at the grocery store, try showing a woman your face. Be confident, unafraid of the LIES – you might get a girlfriend. Women like confidence. Women don’t like dudes who cover their faces in fear. What are you afraid of? Getting laid? Grow up.”

Many players took issue with the developers’ words, and there has been an intense backlash on social media as well as a deluge of negative reviews on steam. The game previously boasted a “very positive” rating from over 7000 happy players. After the patch notes the game faced a deluge of negative reviews with less than 30% of “recent reviews” having positive things to say. “Politics and personal views should never be part of the game marketing,” reads one review.

Strangely, this isn’t the first time DolphinBarn shared their opinions in the patch notes for Domina. One notable example is a previous update that included a rant about “weak men”, “succubus tiddy” and “solving the energy crisis”.


Tencent Becomes Majority Investor in Tequila Works
Indie developer Tequila Works’ portfolio includes 2012’s Deadlight, and 2017’s Rime. They’re also working on the upcoming “Song of Nunu: A League of Legends Story” for publisher Riot Games. A recent twitter post from the Spanish developer has announced that Chinese technology firm Tencent is now the studio’s majority shareholder. It’s unclear if this was the result of a direct negotiation been Tencent and Tequila, trades between independent stakeholders, or a combination of the two. Whatever the case, it seems like the studio is positive about the new partnership!

“For 12 years, the teams at Tequila Works have passionately crafted high-quality titles that radiated our personal sensibilities”, said Tequila Works CEO Raúl Rubio. “But there’s a limit to how much you can grow by yourself”.

Luz Sancho, Tequila Works Chairwoman said: “We are delighted to ally with a partner that allows us to make Tequila Works a stronger studio with access to all the resources required to produce titles of the highest quality, all made with the care and passion our beloved fans know us for as well as the opportunity of bringing these projects to a wider audience.”


Devolver Co-Founder launches therapeutic-game studio with the goal of improving Mental Health.
Devolver Digital co-founder Mike Wilson has announced the formation of a new company focused on using video games as a tool for mental health, DeepWell. DeepWell will define the standard for video games with proven mental health benefits and help players find engaging, enjoyable, and beneficial video games.  A 3-pronged approach will see them producing original titles, working with other developers on titles in production, and certifying already existing games under their standards.

Firstly, they will be developing and publishing original games designed to be therapeutic and entertaining. They aim for these games to appeal to all players, not just those searching to improve their mental health, and to be accessible to broad audiences. Additionally, they have formed an advisory council of over 40 medical researchers, doctors, and veteran game developers. The goal here is to form partnerships with existing developers working on games that have therapeutic potential and assist them in meeting those standards.  Finally, they will work to identify existing games that have potential mental health benefits. Analysing them, highlighting their therapeutic qualities, and where possible, certifying them

Inspiration came when Wilson received letters from around the world discussing the role Fall Guys had played in maintaining their mental health during the brunt of Covid-19.  He could see and feel the positive effect video games could have in the world but knew they lacked the medical knowledge & tools to make them really effective.

His partner former Nextern CEO Ryan Douglas has a medical background and so comes at the problem from the opposite side. He has seen many companies attempt to use video games to deliver therapeutics, but they often fail to be fun and truly engage the user. “If you create [a pill that cures cancer] and people won’t take it, have you really created a treatment, a solution? I think that we need to start saying that the answer is no”.


Hogwarts Legacy State of Play set for March 18th
Playstation Australia has announced an upcoming State of Play focused entirely on the upcoming game Hogwarts Legacy. Hogwarts Legacy is due out for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC later this year. More than half of the stream will showcase gameplay footage of Hogwarts Legacy captured on the PS5. It will be accompanied with discussion and insight from team members at Avalanche Software. You can catch the stream live on Twitch and Youtube this Friday 8AM (AEDT).

 Upcoming Game Releases:

Stranger Of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin (PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S) 18th March

Rune Factory 5 (Switch) – 22nd March