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Dreams is getting PlayStation VR support this month

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Dreams, the expansive game creation tool for the PlayStation 4, is getting VR support. Development studio Media Molecule made the announcement on the official PlayStation blog, saying that PlayStation VR compatibility would arrive as part of a free update later this month.

There’ll be new tutorials that teach you how to create VR content, and the update will also bring games and experiences that are ready to play right away. There’ll be a lot of flexibility in the interface: VR experiences can be crafted both in and out of the PSVR headset, and PlayStation Move controllers are optional. Sculpting with Move controllers “is a very one-to-one experience and lets you fully immerse in the creation process,” according to Media Molecule, which suggests a Tilt Brush-style UI.

It should be easy enough to discover new VR experiences once the update has been available for a while. Creators will be able to specify whether their content is VR-compatible or not and also give it a comfort rating.

The Dreams “Inside The Box” update will be out for free on July 22nd.

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Three top Ubisoft execs are leaving the company amid abuse allegations

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Paris-based video game company Ubisoft announced Saturday that several high-level company officers are leaving amid allegations of abuse and harassment. The departures of chief creative officer Serge Hascoët, global head of HR Cécile Cornet, and Yannis Mallat, managing director of Ubisoft’s Canadian studios, “come following the initiation of a rigorous review that the company initiated in response to recent allegations and accusations of misconduct and inappropriate behavior,” Ubisoft said in a statement.

Earlier this week, Ubisoft confirmed the departure of its vice president, Maxime Béland, following assault allegations, making a total of four prominent executives departing. Under Mallat, Ubisoft’s Toronto studio produced several of Ubisoft’s biggest game franchises: he personally produced the Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time series before going on to manage big brands including Assassin’s Creed; Rainbow Six; Far Cry; Watch Dogs; and For Honor.

French news outlet Libération reported details of some of the allegations against Hascoët, who oversaw all the company’s games, and was considered by many to be close to CEO Yves Guillemot, according to Bloomberg reporter Jason Schreier.

This is a *huge* deal for Ubisoft. Serge Hascoet was the man in charge of ALL of their games. With one word he could greenlight or cancel a project. Many Ubisoft employees believed he was too powerful and close to the CEO to ever be ousted, no matter how many allegations emerged

— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) July 11, 2020

Employees of Ubisoft in Toronto had told company leadership they had “grave concerns about ongoing reported harassment and an inability to feel safe or protected within our own studio” in a letter signed by more than 100 employees, Kotaku reported earlier this week.

The company said recent allegations against multiple Ubisoft employees in Canada make it “impossible” for Mallat to continue in his position. Mallat was let go just a day after apparently addressing these allegations against the company in general and being the one to reassure employees:

NEW: CEO of Ubisoft Canada, Yannis Mallat, addressed the recent wave of allegations of misconduct in a presentation to the Montreal office today. According to sources present, Mallat apologized to victims and employees, but also stressed that most at the company are good people.

— AmericanTruckSongs8 (@ethangach) July 10, 2020

Guillemot will now oversee “a complete overhaul of the way in which the creative teams collaborate,” according to the company’s press release.

The company is hiring an international management consulting firm to audit its HR procedures, part of what it calls a “comprehensive set of initiatives” to foster “an environment that its employees, partners and communities can be proud of – one that reflects Ubisoft’s values and that is safe for everyone.”

Guillemot said in a statement that Ubisoft had “fallen short in its obligation to guarantee a safe and inclusive workplace environment for its employees. This is unacceptable, as toxic behaviors are in direct contrast to values on which I have never compromised — and never will. I am committed to implementing profound changes across the company to improve and strengthen our workplace culture.”

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7 new trailers to watch this week

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I love when books and films take place over really short periods of time, and I recently watched two that work within a similar time frame back to back: Booksmart (which I was seeing for the first time) and Cloverfield (which, if I’d ever seen before, I had completely forgotten). Both take place mostly over the course of a single night, which kicks off after a short setup sequence introduces their cast of characters.

The movies aren’t particularly alike, but side by side, it was clear what a comparably amazing job Booksmart does in getting its events rolling. The main character is set up in all of 30 seconds with a glance over her bedroom, and nearly every other character in the movie is established over the next 15 minutes. Then the night rolls, and we watch everything that was set up earlier fall into place.

Cloverfield, on the other hand, really takes its time. The setup isn’t that much longer — about 18 minutes — but it does so much less in that time period, loosely establishing just a few characters while we impatiently wait for something to happen. It’s a monster movie, and ultimately, they just need to get to the monster.

Check out seven trailers from this week (okay, one’s from last Friday, but it was a holiday) below.

An American Pickle

Seth Rogen stars in this wonderfully depressing looking comedy about a 1920s immigrant to America, who — through failures in early 1900s factory safety standards — becomes frozen in time and wakes up in the modern day, where he meets his great-grandson, who is also played by Seth Rogen. It’s a perfectly ridiculous premise. The film comes to HBO Max on August 6th.

Die Hart

Kevin Hart stars as a fictionalized version of himself going through a ludicrous training boot camp to learn how to become an action star, rather than just a comedic sidekick, in Die Hart. It’s a funny premise, but I’m not sure how many people will see it — the show airs on Quibi, which doesn’t exactly have a huge subscriber base. It comes out on July 20th.

Away

Hilary Swank stars as an astronaut headed to Mars in Away, a new series headed to Netflix. This first look doesn’t reveal much, but we should know more soon: the series debuts on September 4th.

I Used To Go Here

Gillian Jacobs stars as a burnt-out author who heads back to her old college for inspiration, and in doing so, seems to regress into a college student herself. Jemaine Clement co-stars as a professor. The film comes out on August 7th.

We Are Who We Are

HBO has a new series coming up from Luca Guadagnino, the director of Call Me By Your Name, that once again involves glamorous teenagers living in Italy. This first teaser is super short, but it gives off just enough Call Me By Your Name vibes to get me interested. The show debuts in September.

She Dies Tomorrow

Amy Seimetz wrote and directed this eerie, dryly comic psychological thriller about a woman who believes she’s going to die and the people around her who start to believe it. The film got great reviews out SXSW, and now it’s heading to theaters (and drive-ins) on July 31st before streaming on August 7th.

Valley of the Gods

Uhhhhh. There’s a snake limousine.

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Sealed copy of Super Mario Bros. breaks record for most expensive game ever sold

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Super Mario Bros. keeps breaking records three and a half decades after release. A mint copy of a US version of the 1985 game just sold for $114,000 at Heritage Auctions, breaking the previous record set by a copy of Super Mario Bros. in similar condition that sold for $100,150 at an auction last year.

That makes it, according to game collector and journalist Chris Kohler, the most expensive game ever sold to date.

A sealed copy of Super Mario Bros. just sold at auction for $114,000, which is a new record for the sale of a single game. Bet the owners of the $100,000 one, which is an earlier printing, feel great today. pic.twitter.com/lVdcla8d19

— Chris Kohler (@kobunheat) July 10, 2020

What makes this particular version so coveted? Well, it’s graded at a 9.4 out of 10, which means it’s in near-perfect condition, with everything sealed in the original packaging. It’s also a particular version of the US retail edition, which went through quite a few iterations over time. Here’s Heritage with a neat explanation of the so-called cardboard hangtab that makes this unit so rare:

What’s the deal with cardboard hangtabs? one may, understandably, wonder. Cardboard hangtabs were originally used on the US test market copies of black box games, back before plastic was used to seal each game. As Nintendo began to further establish their company in the US, their packaging was updated almost continuously. Strangely, the addition of the plastic wrap came before the box cutting die was altered to remove the cardboard hangtab. This rendered the functionality of the cardboard hangtab completely useless, since it was under the plastic seal.

There are four sub-variants of the plastic sealed cardboard hangtab box (this particular copy of Super Mario Bros. being the “3 Code” variant) that were produced within the span of one year. Each sub-variant of the cardboard hangtab black box, produced within that timeframe, had a production period of just a few months; a drop in the bucket compared to the title’s overall production run.

In short, a cardboard hangtab copy of any early Nintendo Entertainment System game brings a certain air of “vintage” unrivaled by its successors.

Heritage also outlines the broader picture in terms of the game’s value and nostalgia factor: it is the highest-selling game on the original NES console of all time, in addition to being the first entry in the Super Mario Bros. series and marking the first appearance of series villain Bowser.

Yet why, of all items, is this one worth $114,000? We can’t be entirely sure, as the auction winner remains anonymous. Typically, these buyers, often very wealthy, like to stay that way. That said, it’s certainly believable that someone with the money and dedication to building out the rarest of Nintendo or video game collections would want something like this on the shelf (or perhaps sealed in glass or in a safe).

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