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THEY TOOK IT OFF THE STORE???? (12/18/20) | main/menu with nicholas grayson

main/menu with nicholas grayson
THEY TOOK IT OFF THE STORE???? (12/18/20) | main/menu with nicholas grayson
By Nicholas Grayson • Issue #9 • View online
// Hello, welcome to main/menu, a weekly newsletter about video games. Every Friday, Fanbyte Social Editor+ Nicholas Grayson will hand deliver a bunch of words about the intersection between games and culture to your inbox. If you have questions or comments, you can hit me at
Okay, time to do the newsletter! //

Start Up
Hey! Welcome back to main/menu. I took last week off because our week was filled with Game of the Year recording + writing. I’m super excited for y'all to read and listen to what we’ve got for you this year. Make sure you’re locked into the Fanwidth feed to get all of the tasty audio files.
We’re also somehow less than a week out from Christmas, and less than two weeks from this hell year being over. And the vaccine is out, baby. The road ahead is still hella rough but at least we can kinda see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Let’s get into it.
The Discourse
Sony Interactive Entertainment (a.k.a. PlayStation) removed Cyberpunk 2077 from their store yesterday. You just can’t buy the game anymore. It’s that busted.
I recorded a review/impressions podcast with Steven and John today about the video game Cyberpunk 2077. We blocked an hour out, but ended up going for two. This isn’t because we were espousing unfettered praise. We spent almost all of that time talking about all of the ways this game serves as a monument to the ills of AAA game development in 2020. It is a game that was produced under incredibly unethical working conditions, with mandatory crunch destroying the lives of the people making the game. It’s not even good! The higher ups abused their rank and file development team to release a game that is a steaming pile of mediocrity and now they have to give everyone their money back.
It’s unprecedented. I cannot think of a move as dramatic and decisive as Sony pulling the game from the store. I’ll always remember where I was – sitting at my desk on a stream with Steven while they played a better cyberpunk game. It is a tacit admission that the game was not ready for primetime, that it should not have been released. But the move to remove the game from the store also implicates Sony a bit.
When I worked on Call of Duty XII: Black Ops III, we had an internal certification team that was in charge of making sure that the game would eventually pass certification once we sent the (near goldmaster) build to Microsoft. When bugs or issues would be reported that might stop the game from getting Sony or Microsoft’s green light, they were escalated and remedied quickly. One of these issues came on the Xbox team (on which I worked) when I figured out that you could just make your clan tag a racial slur with no ramifications. This was an easy fix – we just hadn’t implemented the banned word filter yet – but that bug was sent over to our internal cert team and they (quickly) kicked back the fix. Black Ops 3 also features an effect similar to the seizure triggering flashing light sequence that was present in Cyberpunk’s BD sequences. I remember conversations being had and the scene that the effect was present in being changed a handful of times during development, with the dev team eventually landing on something that was deemed acceptable for submission to Sony and Microsoft.
I know how much work went into ensuring that video games pass certification. And I refuse to believe that if Cyberpunk 2077 were any other video game, that it would not have passed cert. It’s incredible that more people aren’t talking about this. The BD sequence is impossible to miss, it’s required to complete the game.
deep sigh
Anyway, you’ll be able to listen to our takes on the game early next week in the Fanwidth feed, so make sure you’re subscribed. Until then, I leave you with my favorite bug from my week and a half with the game.
Now Playing
GAME OF THE YEAR BABY IT’S LIT. I mentioned it in the intro, but I’m so excited to get your feedback on our game of the year coverage this year. I’m super happy with the conversations we had!
As for stuff that’s popped off on the site this week, I have one thing for you, and it’s Natalie Weiner‘s piece this week. It’s a banger.
Sound Test
We’re in the process of kicking the tires on our podcasts, and seeing what works. Some of our shows might get new names?? Anyway, if you’ve listened to the last two episodes of Fanwidth, you’ll know that we’ve added some structure and organization to our flagship show. You can listen to the newest episode below, it’s a banger.
Episode 95: Bloodrayne 2 Instead of a Million Dollars
Good Stuff Zone (GSZ)
This week I saw the two funniest things I’ve ever seen in my whole life.
This is the first one:
I thought that this video of a car that was supposed to stop before it hit a mechanical child hitting the mechanical child was the funniest thing I’d ever seen. But then, the next day, my partner Kati sent me this, which is the funniest thing I’ve ever seen in my whole life:
st. nicholas grayson
this is the new funniest thing I’ve ever seen in my whole life
I hope this brought you some joy.
The Closer
Please stay safe. I hope that you aren’t traveling for the holiday next week, but if you are, please be safe. Mask up, wash your hands, and stay in your lane. Cases of COVID-19 are spiking again because of Thanksgiving – let’s try our best to not fuck this up. I’d like to go to Disneyland in May.
See y'all next week.
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Nicholas Grayson

From Fanbyte Social Editor+ Nicholas Grayson comes main/menu, a newsletter about the conversations surrounding video games and technology.

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