Blizzard layoffs due to COVID-19 include $200 gift cards, $200 million for Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick

Have you ever been laid off from a job? You either get severance pay or continuing benefits until a certain date. Activision Blizzard recently announced a round of layoffs affecting around 190 people. The latest round of Blizzard layoffs include $200 gift cards. These layoffs mostly affected live events, which have been suspended for a year due to COVID-19 lockdowns. This is also a signal that there may be a (temporary) shift away from live events due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additionally, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick received $200 million while layoffs were happening. “While the increase in Activision’s stock price is somewhat commendable, as we stated last year and continue to assert, this achievement alone does not justify such a substantial pay outcome for the CEO,” CtW Investment Group researcher Michael Varner said. Kotick’s track record of emphasizing the bottom line at the expense of rank-and-file employees has been well documented. His compensation as CEO in 2019 was the 21st highest CEO compensation in the United States, and his handling of previous rounds of layoffs has also come under fire.

“Players are increasingly choosing to connect with our games digitally and the e-sports team, much like traditional sports, entertainment and broadcasting industries, has had to adapt its business due to the impact the pandemic has had on live events,” a company spokesperson said. This year, BlizzCon was held online due to COVID-19. It is expected for BlizzCon to hold a live event in 2022, but that is all dependent on how many people worldwide get vaccinated and if COVID-19 and its variants are still undergoing community transmission.

The bright news at the end of the tunnel is that the company expects to hire 3,000 people in 2021. We hope those laid off find new jobs soon. Hopefully live events also return so that we can start enjoying social events that are centered around gaming.

The Best Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater Songs

So, in case you missed the news from the other day, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2 will get the remaster treatment on September 4, under the same team that did Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, Vicarious Visions. It looks to be an extraordinary recreation of the original hit games, complete with online play and other features. But most importantly, a number of its iconic tunes will be intact.

Some will miss the train, sadly, due to rights issues. But a number of great favorites remain. And with that, we’ve decided to take the nostalgic route and see which ones still hold up well over the test of time. Some of you may be angry by our choices (“where the hell is Primus?!”), but we guarantee that most, if not all of these, are worth skateboarding to. Hang on tight!

Zebrahead- “Check” (Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3)

This upbeat song is pretty great for a tune that lasts under three minutes. Zebrahead gets right to the point, jumping in with a catchy rhythm and chorus, along with a nice lead-in towards the end. Activision would be wise to include this in the final list.

Dead Kennedys- “Police Truck” (Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater)

Since this was featured in the trailer for the remastered versions of the game, we figured it was worth a shoutout. Plus the Dead Kennedys really know how to put together an entertaining song with the right amount of guitar riffs. NOW RIDE!

Anthrax and Public Enemy- “Bring the Noise” (Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2)

“Bass, how low can you go?” Asking the iconic question from the original rap favorite, Chuck D. immediately lets you know what’s in store. With hard rocking rhythms combined with superb lyrics, this one definitely rocks the house where needed.

Run DMC- “My Adidas” (Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4)

Yeah, like we’re going to deny a classic 80’s rap favorite for the Pro Skater series. This is an ideal track for the fourth chapter in the series; and hearing it could make a comeback in the new game makes us want to dig into our closet for, well, our shoes. I mean, duh.

Rage Against the Machine- “Guerrilla Radio” (Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2)

“Turn that shit up!” And with these powerful lyrics and a thunderous beat, Rage Against the Machine fit right in to Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater’s world. It’s a magnificent tune that is confirmed for the game, and one that’s sure to make its way back into the intro as well. All Hell can’t stop them now.

Primus- “Jerry Was a Race Car Driver” (Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater)

Of course we included Primus. Did you really think we’d forget about them? Come on now. Featuring a terrific baseline that combines with the fun little riffs from the lead singer, “Jerry Was a Race Car Driver” makes for ideal skating music.

Motorhead- Ace of Spades (Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3)

This one’s for Lemmy. Nuff said.

The Ernies- “Here and Now” (Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater)

It’s funny how an artist can grow on you out of nowhere, but that’s exactly what The Ernies do with “Here and Now,” a swell tune that has a groovy melody and chorus to go along with it. Plus, when you land tricks listening to this, it’s something else.

Goldfinger- “Superman” (Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater)

Finally, of course we’re going to include this iconic favorite from Goldfinger. It’s catchy, wild to listen to, and still holds up after all these years. Not to mention that it’s the freakin’ name of the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater documentary that’s coming our way. Here’s the trailer in case you missed it!

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 Remaster Coming September 4, 2020

Skateboards out this September.

It’s time to get back on the skateboard—Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 is coming to the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC on September 4, 2020. Today also happens to be skateboarding legend Tony Hawk’s birthday. Original publisher Activision and developer Vicarious Visions (who also did the Crash Bandicoot remasters) are working on the project.

The last game in the series, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5, came out in 2015. The licensing deal between Tony Hawk and Activision was set to expire at the end of the year, and fans were disappointed in the game. There were rumors of a remaster of the series in 2019, and today, the remaster has been officially announced.

“Thanks to all the fans of our series for keeping this dream alive,” Hawk said on Twitter. The original cast from the games will be returning. Skateboarding fans will recognize faces such as Steve Caballero, Geoff Rowley, Bucky Lasek, Elissa Steamer, Kareem Campbell, Andrew Reynolds, Bob Burnquist, Eric Koston, Rodney Mullen, Jamie Thomas, Rune Glifberg, and Chad Muska.

The 4K resolution graphics aren’t the only new thing coming to this remaster.

While everyone would love to skate their favorite levels in 4K resolution, you can also do tricks like wall plants, reverts, and lip tricks. The game is also known for its iconic soundtrack, but due to licensing issues, some of the tracks from both games will not be available in the remastered version.

You can even create your own skater and your own skatepark, and even share those parks with your friends online. The game will be available on September 4, 2020, for $39.99. You can purchase the digital deluxe edition for $49.99, or even get the collector’s edition for $99.99, which includes a full-sized Birdhouse deck autographed by Tony Hawk himself.

What do you think about the remaster of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater? Are you ready to get on the sticks and start grinding and kickflipping your way to skateboarding supremacy? Let us know in the comments below.

Skateboarding Games Might Be Upon Us Once Again, and We Love It

There was a time in the video game industry when skateboarding games were all the rage. This was mainly due to the extreme popularity of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, the unstoppable series from Neversoft and Activision. It sold into the millions for years, and with each new entry, we found a new place to skate and have fun.

But eventually, the series faded away into obscurity. This is mainly due to the poorly received Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 from a few years ago, which, sadly, was developed by someone else. The series did manage to create some inspired competition, like EA’s Skate franchise, but they too seemed to have faded off.

What happened? It seems like the only game we have on the market worth talking about with skateboarding is, surprisingly enough, SkateBird. But, fortunately, it looks like we’re in for a change – and the sooner, the better, honestly. Let’s talk about the three things that are coming our way…

A Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater Revival?

After the performance of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5, one would think that Activision wouldn’t be in a rush to bring the series back. However, a new report suggests the series is primed for a comeback.

This is due to a rumor suggesting, from a skateboarder familiar with the franchise, that a new game is coming. It could be something along the lines of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD (as seen below from a few years ago), or it might be something new. But whatever the case, the prospect for a new game – and one hopefully more grounded in what the series is all about, instead of THPS5 – would hit the spot.

We’ll have to see what comes of this when Activision announces whatever the heck its plans are. But we hope it has Neversoft at the forefront. Even though they’re a part of Infinity Ward now, we could get a game along the lines of what the first two Pro Skater titles were all about. Remember those…?

Skate 3, But Not the Way You’d Expect

It’s funny that, in a similar report like the one above, there were rumors making the rounds that EA might bring back the Skate franchise.

No, not for Skate 4 – at least, not officially yet. But according to the said reportSkate 3 could be coming to mobile at some point this year.

EA has been notorious for trying to milk its franchises on the mobile front for a while now, mainly due to the money made with microtransactions and general sales. But Skate 3 would be an interesting approach, especially with touch-screen controls and the possibility of networking features.

Skate has been a dead series for years, although the release of Skate 3 on Xbox One backward compatibility recently generated a lot of interest in it again. Hopefully, we’ll see the mobile release pan out, get some positive attention, and get EA thinking on possibly returning to the series. Fingers crossed. Check out its classic trailer below!

Last But Not Least, Skater XL Is Ramping Up

In the midst of all these memorable franchises, it’s easy to forget there’s room for newcomers as well. And that newcomer is the thrilling Skater XL, which will finally make its way to release this July for consoles and PC.

Developed by Easy Day Studios, the game has a definitive Skate vibe to it, focusing a bit on sim, but with a smooth gameplay interface that makes it a cinch to grasp and play. To master, however, is an entirely different ballgame. That’s skateboarding for you. 

Along with skating fun across some vastly designed levels, Skater XL also promises some great customization options, as you can see in the trailer below.

The game arrives on July 7. So, if you can’t wait to see what other skateboarding action comes your way, you can easily give this one a ride.

Here’s hoping we see more skateboarding games in the future. We definitely need to get our fill of million-point combos and executable 900’s again…

Activision Demands That Reddit Identify Call of Duty Leaker

Activision has invoked the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) against a Reddit user.

While leaks are everywhere on the Internet about the next big game, Activision has sent a clear message to the sleuths of the gaming world: don’t leak Call of Duty.

The game developer has used the DMCA to file a subpoena against Reddit to identify those who leaked the upcoming Warzone mode of the Call of Duty franchise. The filing was submitted on February 14 in California’s Northern District Court. “The Content infringes Activision’s exclusive rights under copyright law. Specifically, it infringes Activision’s rights in its popular video game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. The Reddit user, Assyrian2410, has had his post taken down.

Could other game developers follow suit?

The DMCA protects Internet companies including Reddit and YouTube from liability for copyright infringement if a user of the website posts copyrighted material without permission from the original copyright holder. In exchange, the company has to take down infringing content, which is what was done in this case.

Activision is deciding to go after the individual in this case—Assyrian2410—and is currently seeking legal action against the user for the leaks. They want information such as names, addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, and IP addresses to identify the individual. It is unknown if Reddit has handed any of this information to Activision, or even what they do with user data after account deletion. If Activision is successful, it may be seen as a sort of Pyrrhic victory because of the amount of time and resources they may spend to go after Assyrian2410.

The Warzone mode is scheduled for release in March, but this definitely shines a light on how far major game companies will go to take on random Reddit users. What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!