Showing posts with label HitRecord. Show all posts
Showing posts with label HitRecord. Show all posts

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Watch Dogs: Legion and HitRecord Collaboration Creates Controversy

A partnership with HitRecord to create original music for Watch Dogs: Legion sparks controversy for Ubisoft.

After an initial leak from Amazon product listing, developer/publisher Ubisoft eventually revealed their upcoming open-world hacking adventure game Watch Dogs: Legion before having premiering it at E3 2019 event last month.

Currently, it is due for a March 6, 2020 release on Google Stadia, PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. However, publishers are already on hot water after announcing partnership with production company HitRecord to produce music for Legion.

watch dogs legion hitrecord ubisoft wage no spec controversy
Watch Dogs: Legion and HitRecord Collaboration Creates Controversy

RELATED: Watch Dogs: Legion Leaked on Amazon

HitRecord is an online platform owned by actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Don Jon, Looper), where its users generate unique ideas for different media and through collaboration, everyone is allowed to take part and improve those as well.

On their recent endeavor with Ubisoft, 10 original songs for upcoming open-world hacktivism adventure are being requested from fan community and they will be will be paying $20,000 for each new song that makes it to final game.

RELATED: Watch Dogs: Legion Confirmed

In a recent video, Joe Gordon-Levitt has ‏announced this news to members of the site so that they can all participate.




RELATED: Watch Dogs: Legion E3 2019 Reveal

Almost immediately, an old debate regarding companies soliciting work from fans for big budget games is resurfaced. This however, is not Ubisoft's first rodeo to work with HitRecord and generate controversy for their approach.

They announced working with Levitt's company to get art and music from fans for Beyond Good & Evil 2 at E3 2018 presentation. Both of these companies saw this as a rare opportunity to take part in development but professionals calls it speculative work.

RELATED: HitRecord on Beyond Good & Evil 2 #nospec Backlash

One of their requirement lists for a "Battle Anthem Metal Song", which would be focused around themes like 'Anticipation', 'Determination', 'Marching to battle', 'Power' and 'Violence' as mentioned in its project overview.

WDL lets you play as almost anyone from a vast open-world setting to create your resistance against an authoritative regime and creative director, Cling Hocking came up with an idea to work with fans from over the globe to create its music.

RELATED: Ghost Recon: Breakpoint E3 2019 Gameplay Trailer

Although all proceedings are going to be distributed by HitRecord to people who contributed in this creative process, people are viewing it as replacing talents to work on their projects and trying to get spec work from a volunteer crowd.

Whether or not HitRecord creators see this collab as exploitation, industry professionals are strongly against their business model of going after non-exclusive license content rather than hiring someone on consistent payment.

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During their first attempt last year, people started trending a #nospec hashtag on Twitter to protest this idea. Renowned industry figures like Mike Bithell, Rami Ismail and Scott Benson has voiced their displeasure over this partnership.

Regardless of how bad majority of a pissed off crowd is trying to paint this partnership as bad, some small time indie creators are still getting benefitted when their work is selected and though it comes rather cheap, the money helps.

RELATED: Rainbow Six Siege Coming to Next-Gen PlayStation and Xbox

They suggested that the publisher may hire artists to commission new songs or license existing tracks for their game. It can also lead to hours of work that doesn't end up being successful submissions and have no use for many creators in the end.

Besides, $2,000 is relatively a very small amount considering how much time needs to put in to a licensed song for AAA-title and it ultimately gets split between everyone who had a contribution that made it to a winning submission.

RELATED: Skull & Bones Delayed to 2020

Ubisoft has addressed the criticism by stating that they are currently working with artists and composers on over 140 licensed songs and an original score for Legion and contribution from HitRecord community is completely voluntary.

Watch Dogs: Legion will be set a near future version of London where society is now under constant surveillance and ruled by a corrupt private military. In a post-Brexit era, secret hactivist group DedSec returns once again to thwart them over.

Friday, June 15, 2018

HitRecord on Beyond Good & Evil 2 #nospec Backlash

Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s collaboration organization HitRecord is teaming up with Ubisoft but some people skeptical of the idea.

Just like many other exclusive news from E3 2018 press conference has gotten us excited, developer studio Ubisoft had a couple of them in their fold. Teaming up with an online collaborative production company HitRecord owned by actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt for their upcoming action-adventure game Beyond Good & Evil 2 have all the enthusiastic fans thrilled for a rare chance of contributing to this project but this also invokes criticism from many industry professionals.

hitrecord beyond good and evil 2 nospec backlash
HitRecord on Beyond Good & Evil 2 #nospec Backlash

During the discussion, fans are asked to participate creating art assets and making music that will be used in the actual game. This use of fan-made assets has some amateurs and professionals of the art community concerned over the issue of payment. While Gordon and Ubisoft allowed artists and musicians to take part and showcase their talent, people were commenting on whether or not they are getting paid for using their work as it was omitted in the initial announcement.

Seeing everyone making remarks over the matter, Gordon almost immediately took Twitter to clear out things and their intention of paying the patron.



Assuring that each backer would get paid whenever their work used for the game would earn money from it did not really cleared out the frustration that came out from many specialized individuals. He cleared out that his platform is not for industry professionals to earn a living from and they just don't pay in crumbs. Depending on their amount of input for the finished product, some of those benefactors earn in hundreds and some even ends up making tens of thousands for their effort.

HitRecord's partnering up with Ubisoft for Beyond Good and Evil 2 is not just another regular collaboration project. It opens up a new door of opportunity for the contributors to be involved in certain parts of the game and get paid a kind of compensation from a budget sum of $50,000. It will be spread among everyone who has their work included in the completed game. However, for a multibillion-dollar publisher like Ubisoft, that amount is relatively small for a project like this.

joseph gordon levitt e3 hitrecord ubisoft
Joseph Gordon-Levitt at E3

This ridiculous payment sum clearly points out that both companies are not looking to hire anyone but get a work done by the involvement of group of community artists and that is where many professionals have a problem. This program seemingly looks an awful lot like "spec work" or "speculative work", where an artist works on a project which may or may not earn him a payment. A lot of big-name companies try to rip-off artists with this absurd practice and concerned artists are against this initiative.

The following video is a fine example from Canadian design agency Zulu Alpha Kilo on how "spec work" is totally unacceptable and absurd.




It's been quite long that a lot of agencies and individual professionals have taken a stand against this irrationality and some of them are even using the #nospec hashtag on social media as well. Though in most cases, companies don't give you any form of control over your own original work, Gordon-Levitt's HitRecord works on how to monetize it and give you a cut under a non-exclusive license. The content creator reserves the full right to do whatever they please with it or however they use it.

That actually makes things trickier, because despite you owning the rights to your contribution, the end work is a result of many collaborators and produces a unique product which they have the right to sell. The $50,000 esteemed budget is for music and visuals of nine categories for BGE2 has already amassed more than three thousand submissions. So, the above-mentioned prize is a small piece of cake for a selected many to take a bite from and a huge sum of unpaid labor for others not making a cut.