Raven Software Strike Ends Following Successful Unionization Vote, QA Organizational Changes In The Works

By John Carson

It is important to keep in mind what is going on within Activision Blizzard at this time regarding ongoing allegations about the work culture. The ongoing lawsuit from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) against the company is over reported toxic workplace culture. The bulk of the suit focuses on “violations of the state’s civil rights and equal pay laws,” specifically regarding the treatment of women and other marginalized groups. To learn more about the proceedings thus far, including details listed in the lawsuit against Activision Blizzard, please check out our previous coverage here.It’s been a busy week for Activision Blizzard studios, but even more so for the workers at Raven Software. Quality Assurance members of the studio who have been on strike for several weeks following the termination of employment of contracted workers have decided to cease striking following a successful vote for unionization on Friday. 

The decision to end the strike came on Saturday from the ABetterABK Twitter account, saying, “Pending the recognition of our union, the Raven QA strike has ended. Unused strike funds are being stored for future organizing/strike efforts.” So, while these QA members are going back to work, the onus is on Activision Blizzard to recognize the union or face another potential strike in the future. 

Pending the recognition of our union, the Raven QA strike has ended. Unused strike funds are being stored for future organizing/strike efforts.We’ll post or retweet any GWU updates here. Appreciate all the community support throughout the strike!
— ABetterABK 💙 ABK Workers Alliance (@ABetterABK) January 23, 2022

While the Game Workers Alliance Union is yet to be acknowledged by the brass at the prolific publisher, more news came out today about a QA reorganization within Raven Software. Game Informer was provided a letter sent to Raven staff from studio head Brian Raffel outlining the changes to Quality Assurance and their relationship with other departments within the studio. Raffel says in the letter, “I’m excited to share that our QA colleagues will embed directly within various teams across the studio, including Animation, Art, Design, Audio, Production, and Engineering.” Brian states later in the announcement that embedding QA with other teams is the norm at other Activision studios and will bring Raven more in line with how the rest of the broader company is operating. “It’s more important than ever that we foster tighter integration and coordination across the studio – embedding will allow for this,” writes Raffel. 

A statement from an Activision Publishing spokesperson shares Brian Raffel’s sentiment that this change will “enhance the collaborative work” of the various teams to support the products it works on. The spokesperson goes on to say, “This is the next step in a process that has been carefully considered and in the works for some time, and this structure aligns Raven with the best practices of other prominent Activision studios. It is also a milestone in our broader plan to integrate QA more into the development process as our teams strive to deliver best in class coordination in real-time, live service operations.”

While it seems like there’s some progress in changing how the QA team is handled within Raven Software, this statement doesn’t mention or acknowledge Friday’s vote to unionize, nor does it look like it has been officially acknowledged by management at all. We’ll report on any developments that will come from either of these changes in the coming days and weeks.

Jack Garland Does It His Way In The Final Stranger Of Paradise Trailer

By John Carson

Jack Garland and his conquest to destroy Chaos has had us talking since we learned of it last June. We’re less than two months from release, and after two betas and multiple trailers, I still don’t know what is going on in Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin.There’s plenty of action shown off in the latest and apparently last trailer for the game, with Jack and Co. using various classes in battle to destroy hordes of enemies, including the multi-headed Tiamat, which apparently gets crystallized and shattered in the footage. We’re also introduced to more big baddies like Lich and Kraken and the Final Fantasy 1 boss known as Marilith brandishing some fiery blades. 

We catch glimpses at Jack dressed in regal garb, speaking with Sarah, and gifting her a pitch-black egg-like object, while promising not to forget. Memory is brought up a few times, with one early mention from Jack expressing the opinion that “it’s a mercy to forget.” The trailer clocks in at almost five minutes and goes all over the place. From dark castles to bright virtual-looking rooms, and camera sweeps over golden fields set to Frank Sinatra’s “My Way”. I never thought I’d be hearing Ol’ Blue Eyes on a Final Fantasy soundtrack alongside Limp Bizkit, but here we are. 

Whether you like it or not, Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin is set for release on March 18 for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

Every Pokémon Officially Confirmed For Pokémon Legends: Arceus

By John Carson

Pokémon Legends: Arceus is out later this week, and in honor of its release, we’ve collected this list of Pokemon confirmed to be roaming the wilds in the Hisui region. This list does not include any leaked information and is based on Pokémon shown in official art, screenshots, or footage for Pokémon Legends: Arceus. However, there are quite a few Pokémon we can assume are in the game if their final evolution has been revealed or there is enough evidence for us to say we strongly think they will be included like the Sinnoh Gen 1 evolution cycle (Magmortar, Tangrowth, etc.). While we haven’t laid eyes on them, we’ve included their names along with an asterisk. We will try to update this list as more information becomes officially available.Without further ado, here are the Pokémon we’ve confirmed are in Legends: Arceus in order of generation they were introduced: 

Generation 1:

Pikachu
Raichu
Clefairy
Clefable
Vulpix
Ninetales*
Zubat*
Golbat
Psyduck
Golduck

Growlithe (Hisuian)
Abra
Kadabra*
Alakazam*
Machop
Machoke
Machamp*
Tentacool
Tentacruel
Geodude
Graveler
Golem*
Ponyta
Rapidash
Magnemite
Magneton
Onix

Voltorb (Hisuian)
Rhyhorn
Rhydon
Tangela
Mr. Mime
Scyther* (Evolves into Kleavor)
Electabuzz
Magmar
Magikarp
Gyarados
Eevee
Snorlax

Generation 2:

Cyndaquil

Crobat
Pichu*
Cleffa*
Togepi
Togetic*
Sudowoodo
Aipom
Yanma
Murkrow
Gligar
Heracross
Tediursa
Ursaring
Swinub
Piloswine
Remoraid*
Octillery
Mantine
Stantler* (Evolves into Wyrdeer)
Elekid*
Magby* 

Generation 3:

Wurmple
Silcoon
Beautifly
Cascoon*
Dustox*
Ralts
Kirlia
Gardevoir
Nosepass
Roselia*
Chimecho
Snorunt
Glalie
Spheal
Sealeo
Walrein

Generation 4:

Turtwig
Grotle
Torterra
Chimchar
Monferno
Infernape

Piplup
Prinplup
Empoleon
Starly
Staravia
Staraptor
Bidoof
Bibarel
Kricketot
Kricketune
Shinx
Luxio
Luxray
Budew
Roserade
Burmy
Wormadam
Mothim
Combee
Vespiquen
Pachirisu
Buizel
Floatzel
Cherubi (pictured on a sign)
Cherrim*
Shellos
Gastrodon
Ambipom*
Driftloon
Drifblim
Buneary
Lopunny
Honchkrow
Glameow
Purugly
Chingling
Stunky
Skuntank
Bronzor
Bronzong
Bonsly
Mime Jr.*
Chatot
Gible*
Gabite*
Garchomp

Munchlax
Riolu
Lucario
Hippopotas
Hoppowdon
Skorupi
Drapion
Croagunk
Toxicroak
Carnivine
Finneon*
Lumineon*
Mantyke
Snover
Abomasnow
Magnezone*
Rhyperior*
Tangrowth

Electivire
Magmortar
Togekiss*
Yanmega*
Gliscor
Gallade
Probopass
Froslass

Darkrai
Shaymin (Land Forme)
Arceus

Generation 5:

Oshawott
Basculin* (Evolves into Basculegion)

Zorua (Hisuian)
Zoroark (Hisuian)
Braviary (Hisuian)

Generation 6:

Rowlet

New Pokémon in Legends Arceus:

Wyrdeer
Basculegion

Kleavor