Amazon Game Studios Report Details ‘Bro Culture’ and Cancelled Projects

A new extensive report from Bloomberg has detailed some of the dysfunction and struggles at Amazon Game Studios, which included cancelled projects, a troublesome game engine, mismanagement, and a “bro culture” that allegedly does not give women the same opportunities as men.

The report begins by discussing how Mike Frazzini was brought in to start Amazon Game Studios eight years ago without ever making a game. Since then, Frazzini and Amazon Game Studios have released only two games, and have seen multiple cancelled projects that were attempting to recreate the financial magic of games like Fortnite and League of Legends.

The Grand Tour Game was the first Amazon Game Studios console release, and within a year it was removed from storefronts. Crucible was the next game released from the studio, and not only did it return to closed beta after its official launch, it was shut down in November 2020.

Two other projects, which were known as Intensity and Nova, never saw the light of day after the teams tried and failed to create games inspired by Fortnite and League of Legends, respectively.

[ignvideo url=””]

All of these cancelled and unsuccessful projects at Amazon Game Studios have done so despite Amazon spending nearly $500 million a year operating the game division. It’s also important to note that the amount doesn’t include Twitch or Amazon Luna – the latter of which is under different management.

Frazzini is an “Amazon lifer” who started his career in the books section of where he “endeared himself to Jeff Bezos as a manager there.” He began his role as head of the games division by bringing in some of the best game development talent in the world, including Portal’s Kim Swift, Far Cry 2’s Clint Hawking, Madden’s Richard Hilleman, and Everquest’s John Smedley. Today, only Smedley remains.

According to numerous current and former employees of Frazzini’s game studios, he continuously ignored much of the advice given by these experienced developers, and despite frequently telling the staff that every Amazon game should be a “billion-dollar franchise,” he would then understaff projects.

Furthermore, instead of using industry-leading game engines like Unreal Engine or Unity, the studio opted to license technology from Crytek to create a homemade engine known as Lumberyard.

[ignvideo url=””]

While Lumberyard was meant to integrate with Amazon Web Services and could have been a cheaper alternative than paying for the other engines, it ended up being known as a “boogeyman around the office.” Many cited that it was “painfully slow,” and developers would play Halo or watch Amazon Prime Video as they waited for Lumberyard to process art or compile code. One former employee even went so far as to say, “Lumberyard is killing this company.”

Another big issue with working at Amazon Game Studios is said to be linked to the “bro culture” that has been cultivated there, in which women were often not given the same opportunities as men. Beyond that, “four female game developers said that their worst experiences of sexism in the industry were at Amazon.”

There were stories of them being ignored and undermined by male executives, in some cases being driven out of the company. One source said that not only did a male on the senior leadership team impede her career growth after she disagreed with him, he would then go on to create new management positions above her and hired men to take those positions.

Amazon’s game problems also extend to how they incentivize their employees. While most studios pay bonuses based on the critical and commercial response of a game, Amazon’s stock plan only rewards employees for how long they have been at the company. This has led to some employees choosing to “prioritize job preservation over anything else, say three former employees.”

[widget path=”global/article/imagegallery” parameters=”albumSlug=new-world-screenshots-november-2020&captions=true”]

Amazon Game Studio’s next project is the MMO New World. Originally planned for a 2020 release, it was pushed back to Spring 2021 to improve the quality of the game. Bloomberg’s report explains that the project was originally going to be a survival game where players would take on the role of colonists in a fictional version of 1600s America.

The problem, however, was that the enemies players originally were going to face “looked a lot like indigenous people.” When developers pointed out to Frazzini’s deputy, Patrick Gilmore, that the setting and villains could be considered racist, he “expressed disbelief.”

Amazon did eventually hire a tribal consultant who did find that the portrayal was offensive, and the Native American imagery has since been removed.

Our latest preview of New World’s high-level PvE zone show a game that may not be for everybody, but one that shows promise and a big improvement, in both PvE content and general polish, from the previous build.

[ignvideo url=””]

[poilib element=”accentDivider”]

Have a tip for us? Want to discuss a possible story? Please send an email to [email protected].

Adam Bankhurst is a news writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamBankhurst and on Twitch.

WWE Royal Rumble 2021: Live Coverage, Results, Match Card, And Rumble Entrants

It’s finally time for the greatest PPV of the year, the Royal Rumble. Sorry Wrestlemania, but the Rumble is the most fun WWE event of the year, and you can check out all the winners and losers for every match below as the show streams live.

Taking place in the WWE Thunderdome, Tropicana Field will host the first PPV of 2021, and while fans will only be able to virtually attend the event, they’ll be back in time for this year’s two-night Wrestlemania. The main attraction for tonight’s Royal Rumble are none other than the two battle royal matches, where both 30 men and 30 women will battle for a chance to face the WWE or Women’s Champion of their choice at Wrestlemania.

And if you want to now about some of our predictions, check out the episode of Wrestle Buddies above, where Chris and Mat make picks for the men’s and women’s Royal Rumble matches. Mat chose Alexa Bliss and Jey Uso while Chris picked Alexa Bliss and Daniel Bryan. If you want more details, check out the podcast.

Also, stay tuned to GameSpot later tonight for a special post-Royal Rumble episode of Wrestle Buddies, where the guys will give their thoughts on the PPV. And while you’re waiting for that, why not check out the Icons documentary on Yokozuna, airing on the WWE Network right after the Royal Rumble?

How to watch:

If you’re looking to watch WWE’s TLC PPV, you’re going to have to sign up for the WWE Network, which costs $10 a month. The streaming service no longer offers one month for free, but it is well worth the price of admission, as there is plenty of other content to keep you entertained, like old episodes of Raw, Smackdown, WCW Nitro, PPVs, and original content. There is also a free tier, which you can use to watch the Kickoff Show of the PPV, but not the main card.

Below, you’ll find the up-to-date match card for the event. Obviously, the card is subject to change–and there will most likely be a few changes during the Kickoff Show as well. If you want to know more about the battle royals themselves, check out the confirmed entrants for the Royal Rumble matches.

Match card:

  • Men’s Royal Rumble
  • Women’s Royal Rumble
  • Sasha Banks (c) vs. Carmella (Smackdown Women’s Championship)
  • Charlotte Flair & Asuka (c) vs. Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax (Women’s Tag Team Championship)
  • Roman Reigns (c) vs. Kevin Owens (Last Man Standing match for the Universal Championship)
  • Drew McIntyre (c) vs. Goldberg (WWE Championship)

Aside from the two Rumble matches, both the Universal Championship and WWE Championship have a lot of hype around them. Kevin Owens will continue his journey to get a major win over “The Head of the Table” Roman Reigns in a Last Man Standing match, so you can expect that to be pretty brutal.

Goldberg returned out of nowhere to challenge Drew McIntyre for the WWE Championship. However, McIntyre tested positive for COVID, and it put doubts on the match. But don’t worry, the match is still happening, and hopefully, it’s longer than a spear and a jackhammer–probably not, though.

As the night moves forward, you’ll find the updated results from every match, along with important notes in case you aren’t watching. We’re kicking things off below with the pre-show.

Kickoff Show

Notes and changes for the main card will be updated below as they are announced. Keep refreshing for more info as the preshow and main cards air on the WWE Network.

The Kickoff Show probably won't have The Fiend on it...
The Kickoff Show probably won’t have The Fiend on it…

The Kickoff Show begins at 3 PM PT / 6 PM ET.

This Kickoff Show will only be an hour long.


Daily Deals: Save On Sound Bars, 4K TVs and Snacks

If you missed it yesterday, don’t worry, the Doritos sale is continuing through to today. Along with some tasty snacks, you can save a ton of cash right now by purchasing a Samsung audio setup for your home, and even get a great new 4K TV in the process as well. The perfect setup is only a few clicks away in this edition of Daily Deals.

Daily Deals for January 31th 2021

[poilib element=”commerceDeal” parameters=”slug=daily-deals-january-31-2021″]

Just Released: New Alienware RTX 30 Series Laptops for Preorder

[poilib element=”commerceDeal” parameters=”slug=dell-rtx-30-series-laptops”]

MLB The Show 21 Cover Leak Seemingly Confirms Xbox Version

The cover has allegedly leaked for MLB The Show 21, but this time for both PlayStation 5 and Xbox One, seemingly confirming that the Sony-exclusive baseball game will make its way to other platforms in 2021.

Known leaker ANerdyDad on Instagram shared the covers, which both feature San Diego Padres’ Fernando Tatis Jr., and the Xbox version even comes complete with the PlayStation Studios logo, as well.

Another potential leak has made its way to Reddit, showing that there may also be a Jackie Robinson special edition version of MLB The Show 21, which is said to be available on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, and Xbox One. Unfortunately, there is no mention of PC or Nintendo Switch.

The Jackie Robinson Edition leak also reveals that the game is planned to be released on April 20, 2021, with an Early Access Weekend beginning on April 16.

Following these leaks, it has been announced that the official MLB The Show 2021 cover reveal will take place tomorrow, February 1, on Hot Ones. So, it appears we won’t have to wait long to learn the truth.

In 2019, it was confirmed that MLB The Show would be making its way to other platforms as early as 2021, and it appears this just may be the year these great games will be playable by many more people.

[ignvideo url=””]

[poilib element=”accentDivider”]

Have a tip for us? Want to discuss a possible story? Please send an email to [email protected].

Adam Bankhurst is a news writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamBankhurst and on Twitch.

A Glitch in the Matrix Review

A Glitch in the Matrix premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. It opens in select theaters and On Demand on February 5. Our reviewer watched the movie via a digital screener. Read more on IGN’s policy on movie reviews in light of COVID-19 here.

[poilib element=”accentDivider”]

Ever experience déjà vu or clock a peculiar coincidence and think, “What if The Matrix is real? What if all this is a computer simulation?” Well, if so, you’re not alone. Simulation Theory has a lot of believers, including controversial innovator Elon Musk. It might sound like heady stuff, but the curious new documentary A Glitch In The Matrix breaks it all down with energy and aplomb.

Documentarian Rodney Ascher is not new to conspiracy theories, having forged his reputation with Room 237 and The Nightmare. The former doc delivered a riveting deep-dive into fan theories about Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. This included the eyebrow-raising proposal that the frightening film was in fact Kubrick’s coded apology for faking the moon landing. The latter focused on sleep paralysis, exploring its connections to international folklore and even accounts of possession and alien abduction. With A Glitch In The Matrix, Ascher traces Simulation Theory back to Ancient Greek philosophy, through Christian theology, the prophetic science-fiction of Philip K. Dick, and to the Wachowski Sisters’ 1999 epic, The Matrix, which shot this theory into the mainstream.

[ignvideo width=610 height=374 url=]

In talking-head interviews, Ascher allows a batch of believers to recount their first experience watching The Matrix or otherwise questioning reality as we know it. A keystone to his work is an open mind that bestows to his subjects plenty of space and support to unfurl their theories, no matter how unusual. As such, Ascher bolsters these believers by presenting each in interviews as flashy avatars. Stripped away are their human faces and any physical identifiers, replaced by glossy CGI that transforms them into glittery wolves, roly-poly robots, and other outrageous creatures. From there, their recollections are re-enacted with video game-like graphics, illustrating the idea that this world might also be a collection of code and pixels.

Additional flash and cool cache are achieved through flooding the film with footage of a slew of TV shows, video games, and movies that remotely tie into this conversation. To illustrate how a simulation might prioritize processing power, Ascher cuts to the Rick and Morty episode “M. Night Shaym-Aliens!” When explaining that some people are purely NPCs (Non-Player Characters), World of Warcraft footage is wielded. Aside from The Matrix, everything from Star Wars, to Defending Your Life, Minecraft, Avatar, Batman Forever, Total Recall, and Horton Hears A Who are looped in. You could easily make a jolly game of calling out all the clips as they rollick by. However, whether this allusion-heavy approach helps or hurts the argument for Simulation Theory is up for debate. On one hand, such a diversity of representation of these ideas across multi-media might suggest there’s something to it. Or perhaps reality is so overwhelming that mankind is drawn to whatever answer allows us to escape, for better or worse.

Ascher explores the latter in a dark thread about Joshua Cooke and The Matrix Defense, which was deployed after a grisly crime. This horrid story leaves us to ask: What does it mean if nothing around us is real? If we don’t consider those we meet “real” people but simply NPC’s with no inner life or grand purpose? These are just a few of the many questions A Glitch In The Matrix poses, and Ascher has no apparent interest in answering them. Perhaps that’s why neither Lana nor Lilly Wachowski is interviewed in a doc that pulls intensely from their filmography. Maybe that’s why Ascher shields us from the unfiltered identities of his Simulation Theory believers. These interviewees offer details about their lives, including their jobs and religious background. Yet details that might be plucked from their appearance (like race, age, and gender) are left a mystery, leaving us unable to judge how to factor this into their experiences and worldview. So, we are left to wonder.

[widget path=”global/article/imagegallery” parameters=”albumSlug=best-virtual-reality-adventure-movies&captions=true”]

Worst Way To Play Cyberpunk 2077 – Episode 2

Round 2! Jake and Rob fight through Cyberpunk 2077 bugs and glitches as they attempt to play through the game on a base Xbox One, with no updates–version 1.0 all the way!

As you’re probably well aware of by now, CD Projekt Red’s role-playing game has had an infamously rocky launch.Over time it has been patched and updated, but we’re ignoring all that to go back to vanilla experience to showcase how this game was shipped on day one.

In order to do so, Jake and Rob have declined updates to the Xbox One disc version of Cyberpunk 2077 so they can live life on the edge. What you’ll witness in this video are immersion shattering bugs, game and loading stuttering, texture pop-ins, and unresponsive A.I. Suffice it to say… it ain’t pretty. It’s fun and funny, but not pretty.

What’s also worth noting is that this is a series in which Jake and Rob double down on the premise of encouraging “The Worst Way To Play.” That means they’re also role-playing as the worst character possible, so expect obnoxious and rude dialogue choices, as well as completely unnecessary physical altercations.

And that’s what Episode 2 of The Worst Way to Play Cyberpunk 2077 has in store for you, so sit back and watch as our duo suffer to give you 12-ish minutes of fun and mischief. If you’d like to see more of this challenge, let us know in the comments below. And if you have specific ideas of how to make the experience even more miserable, let us know that too. Thanks for watching.

Battleborn Goes Offline For Good Today

Rest in peace, Battleborn–we hardly knew you … or played you. Gearbox Software’s hero shooter is going offline today for good, rendering the game unplayable more than four years after its launch.

The writing has been on the wall for quite a long time now, with digital currency being removed from sale and the game already being pulled off digital stores. However, up until today, players who were still interested in Battleborn could play the game normally. That’s over, with not only peer-to-peer multiplayer matches being unplayable, but also the single-player campaign.

Battleborn’s fate was sealed almost immediately, as it launched at nearly the exact same time as Blizzard’s Overwatch. The two games are quite similar, with heroes sporting a variety of unique moves and weapons, but it was Blizzard’s game that caught on. The price of Battleborn quickly fell, and Gearbox shifted, well, gears, to other games like Borderlands 3. That was a much more successful project for the studio, releasing on everything from Xbox One to Google Stadia and receiving several DLC packs.

Battleborn actually began its life, sort of, as a completely different game. Brothers in Arms: Furious 4 was announced first as a Tarantino-style take on the World War 2 franchise, but it was eventually scrapped and some of its elements were incorporated into Battleborn.

Despite the Brothers in Arms franchise’s long hiatus, it isn’t dead. A television series is in development, and Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford confirmed that the studio is still working on the series just a few days ago. However, he stressed that he couldn’t share or “make any promises,” so it doesn’t sound like the company is ready to actually commit to announcing a game.

Now Playing: Battleborn – Review

GameSpot may get a commission from retail offers.