Blizzard Entertainment president J. Allen Brack steps down

Today: Don’t expect any new Siren games from Asobi Team — Assassin’s Creed Valhalla director to lead Dead Space remake — Ariana Grande will be performing in Fortnite next week

Former Blizzard Entertainment dev Jeff Strain joins calls for industry unionisation

Jeff Strain working at his desk on an unknown game as team members chat behind him

Jeff Strain is the co-founder of Undead Labs and ArenaNet, and also a former Blizzard Entertainment employee. Now he is saying that it's high time for workers in the games industry to unionize.

Strain was “disgusted and repulsed – but not at all surprised” by the recent reports about working conditions at Blizzard Entertainment according to an open letter to his employees, also published by IGN.

  • Joined Blizzard in 1996 and worked on StarCraft and Diablo
  • Jeff Strain was lead programmer for World of Warcraft
  • Planned to leave Blizzard in 1998 following “cataclysmic meeting”
  • Later founded Undead Labs and created State of Decay
  • Larger companies “need to lead” on safer industry standards

Time for unions: "We need unionization," said Strain. "Unions were started in this country to protect workers from abusive, cruel, abhorrent, unacceptable, and illegal treatment from companies. That's their entire purpose.”

Role model: According to Strain, his time at Blizzard left an “indelible mark” on his life and demonstrated “how abusive cultures can propagate and self-amplify over time”. Strain thinks the larger companies set the “tone and tenor of the entire industry”, and that it must change for the industry to change.

President Leaves: The breaking news coming in just as we're publishing today is that Blizzard Entertainment president J Allen Brack is leaving the company to "pursue new opportunities."

Blizzard sent out a press release revealing the news today, highlighting that Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra have been appointed co-leaders of Blizzard, while a different statement explains Brack's departure.

Later on this evening, Activision Blizzard will be hosting its quarterly earnings report with questions taken live from analysts and investors, of which Brack would normally be taking questions. We'll be following the call tonight to see what happens and will report back to you in tomorrow’s issue.

How far could you play a pirated version of Spyro: Year of the Dragon before your save was wiped?

a) The first boss
b) The final boss
c) The second world 
d) The third world

The answer will be revealed at the bottom of today's issue. Join up with our community on Twitter and Facebook to discuss what the answer could be.

Team Asobi will be staying family-friendly

Astro bot is seen going through many different levels in Rescue Mission

Team Asobi is all that's left of PlayStation's now-defunct Studio Japan, famous for developing and producing ambitious and unusual games for PlayStation like Ape Escape, Vib Ribbon and Team Ico's work.

The studio developed Astro Bot Rescue Mission for PlayStation VR and Astro's Playroom for PlayStation 5, and the playful robot has become the studio's mascot – even appearing in its logo.

Family-friendly: It seems like Team Asobi will stick to making family-friendly games for the time being, judging by the language on its website: “We are a new and dynamic PlayStation Studio based in vibrant Tokyo, Japan … We create top-quality games for players of all ages on PlayStation.”

Sad fans: Japan Studio had earned a special place in many gamers' hearts after two decades of making quality games, and it remains to be seen if Studio Asobi can carry on the torch. The studio is currently working on a 3D action game, which could be an Astro's Playroom sequel – but designer Nicolas Ducet has not revealed anything more than that the studio is open to the idea.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla director joins EA Motive to lead Dead Space remake

Dead Space's protagonist standing with his back to the camera in a dimly lit room, perhaps a resting place from the horrors inside the ship

EA's recently announced Dead Space remake will be led by Eric Baptizat, the director of Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed Valhalla, who also worked on earlier Assassin's Creed games like Black Flag, Unity and Origins.

EA announced the revival of the classic science-fiction horror series at EA Play Live last month, and Baptizat's LinkedIn profile revealed that he's now at EA Motive after 15 years at Ubisoft.

New crew: Motive Studios has hired a number of former Ubisoft devs, as well as a few developers who worked on previous Dead Space games. None of the series' creators are part of the new team, however.

New IP: Much of the original Dead Space team – led by Glen Schofield – is now at Striking Distance Studio, working on a new horror game called The Callisto Protocol, which they hope will be the “scariest game on next-gen”.

Bandai Namco Sale with up to 90% off

Kamehameha those villainous full prices, Bandai Namco splash sale shot

IndieGala has a juicy Bandai Namco sale at the moment, with up to 90% off a hefty selection of 78 games, DLC and season passes – including series like Ni No Kuni, Tekken, One Piece, Dragon Ball and the Tales series of JRPGs.

How far could you play a pirated version of Spyro: Year of the Dragon before your save was wiped?

Thanks for the warning, Zoe - Spyro is pictured talking to an NPC fairy called Zoe

ANSWER: The final boss!

Piracy, or rather the struggle against it, has inspired developers to implement many an ingenious scheme over the years. One of the most brutal ones is in Spyro: Year of the Dragon. After being warned that your copy of the game is not legitimate, the game starts playing tricks on you by limiting your health, removing most of the gems from the game, and even transporting you to the wrong place when you use portals.

If you manage to push through, you can confront the game’s final boss: The Sorceress. Unfortunately, you’re not out of the woods yet – halfway through the fight, the game will end and erase your save data, meaning and all that hard work was for nothing. The anti-piracy version of Year of the Dragon is so brutal that it has become a bit of a cult classic in itself.

Today's issue of DailyBits was written by Gavin Herman, Erlend Grefsrud, Simon Priest, and Jamie Davey. If you have any feedback or news tips for the team, please email us!