Industry News, April 2019

Video Game News

Can Some Video Games Help with Depression?

As more and more people around the world face issues of depression and anxiety, some video game developers are designing games that help players cope with these issues through the medium of play.

Beware the Labyrinth

A player in the open world Fallout 76 has created a labyrinth into which he lures other players, particularly new and low-level players who are presumably unsuspecting and unable to fight back against the dangerous beast that walks the maze.

Where Anthem Went Wrong

Kotaku examines where BioWare’s Anthem went wrong, starting with trademarking issues that necessitated a different title than planned and going on to the lowest Metacritic score since the studio opened.

Do Game Developers Need to Unionize?

In the wake of huge layoffs at major studios like Blizzard and EA, a New York Times opinion piece examines the argument for unionization in the video game industry as a way to prevent exploitation of workers.

Is Elder Scrolls Blades the Future of Gaming?

In the old days of video games, the player bought the game and then could play it without worrying about further transactions unless the cartridge or disk was lost or broken, or their system went down. Today, not so much. This piece in Forbes asks whether the endless transactions the author sees in Elder Scrolls Blades are really where AAA gaming is headed, and what that would mean.

Awards News

Hugo Finalists Announced

The finalists for the 2019 Hugo awards have been announced, including the 1944 retrospective awards, many fan favorites in various categories, and to the surprise of many, one volunteer-created-and-run fanfiction archive is up for Best Related Work.

In Memoriam

Vonda N. McIntyre

The Hugo and Nebula award-winning author of Dreamsnake, The Moon and the Sun, and dozens of other books and short stories died on April 1, 2019, at the age of seventy. Locus magazine and the New York Times, among many others, posted obituaries that are well worth reading.

Gene Wolfe

Author and SFWA Grand Master Gene Wolfe died on April 14, 2019, leaving behind over thirty novels, including a series that, over its run, won British Science Fiction, World Fantasy, British Fantasy, Locus, Nebula, and Campbell Memorial Awards. Obituaries posted by and the Guardian, among many others, are well worth a read.

TV and Movies News

Who Knew Francis Ford Coppola Wanted to Make Sci-Fi?

Not this writer! But apparently it’s true—according to Deadline the renowned director has had an idea in mind since the ’80s for a movie called Megalopolis about an architect who wants to remake New York into a utopia, and he’s now eyeing a cast that might include Jude Law. Will it be, like he wants, as epic as Apocalypse Now? Only time will tell.

Marvel Rumored to Take On a Gay Lead for The Eternals

There’s nothing solid behind this, yet, including casting, but rumors reported by Gay Times indicate that Marvel might make Hercules the first openly gay character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as well as the lead in The Eternals, slated to come out next year. Gay Times notes that “Marvel has long faced criticism for the lack of minority representation in its movies, and while it made steps to introduce diversity with the critically acclaimed Black Panther and Captain Marvel, LGBTQ characters remains non-existent,” so, if true, this would be a huge step in the right direction.

Netflix Speculation

The rumor mill is just as strong in TV as in movies at the moment, including word that Netflix has hired a screenwriter for an Alice in Wonderland / Wizard of Oz crossover series, taking advantage of the fact that both these properties are in the public domain and have gone a few years (or at least a couple of years) without being adapted for screens. More solid than rumor, however, was the announcement that John Cho (who played Sulu in the recent Star Trek reboot movies) has been cast as Spike Spiegel in Netflix’s upcoming live-action adaptation of fan favorite Cowboy Bebop.

Writers Versus Agents in Hollywood Crisis

Negotiations between the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Association of Talent Agents (ATA) recently fell apart, leading the WGA to urge their members to publicly break with the agents who represent them in business negotiations. As Variety reported last week, the heart of the issue is WGA’s assertion that “agents’ reliance on packaging fees paid by production entities, rather than the standard 10% commission on a client’s salary, have skewed their interests and contributed to keeping salaries low for mid- and low-level writers.” Even prominent members of the WGA are sticking with their guild on this matter, though, taking to Twitter with their public statements of support and networking to try to make connections during the traditional hiring season, and making personal arguments for the guild’s decision, as in the case of this guest columnist piece written for Hollywood Reporter by Krista Vernoff of Grey’s Anatomy. Those of us who remember the WGA strike of 2007 (or, further back, of 1988) may rightfully wonder what impact this will have on the shows that appear on our screens in the fall, but this is also an interesting political battle to watch play out all on its own, and a striking move in a world where white-collar unionization seems to be making a strong play for relevance in the artistic sector.

We want to hear from you! Let us know what you think about the news of the month on the forum post for this blog entry.

Jen Grogan

Jen Grogan is a writer, editor, web content specialist, and nonprofit administrator based out of Seattle, where she lives with her husband, two loud but adorable cats, and too many books. She’s written for Women Write About Comics and a few other online venues, but has not yet convinced herself to call any of her fiction manuscripts complete. As an editor, she encourages others to do as she says, not as she does. In her free time she enjoys knitting, hiking, calligraphy, leading school tours for the Seattle Art Museum, and traveling to find new places to hike and new museums to visit. You can find her online at