News cycles across most industries spun chaotically throughout 2022 — and games, entertainment, and tech were no exception. Headlines here were comparatively tame, though it was nonetheless an eventful year in our little corner of the internet: Elon Musk took over Twitter, Xbox made the industry’s biggest acquisition yet (deal pending), GTA 6 gameplay leaked, Will Smith earned a 10-year ban from the Oscars, and Winnie the Pooh broke into the public domain with bloodlust.
As we look back on the year that was, we’ve compiled a list of the 20 biggest news stories published on IGN in 2022. This list covers games, movies, television, comics, and tech, and is based on a combination of website traffic and significance.
Biggest News Stories of 2022
In early October, nearly two years after the release of PS5, a modder was able to jailbreak Sony’s new-gen console, providing access to the console’s debug menu and the ability to install unauthorized software. This quickly led to people installing P.T., Konami’s delisted “playable teaser” for the now-canceled Silent Hills.
P.T., which captivated gaming communities for weeks and remains the subject of a fascinating behind-the-scenes saga, has been delisted from the PlayStation Store since May 2015. At the time this news story was published, modders were able to install P.T. but unable to launch it. That changed just a few weeks later when, through a fairly convoluted process, modder Lance McDonald was able to get it up and running on PS5.
In May, IGN published an in-depth report on the growing frustration within Nintendo of America.
The report, written by IGN’s Kat Bailey, detailed the discrepancies between the treatment of full-time NoA employees and contracted workers and the overall struggles within the company since 2015 when Nintendo was struggling with the Wii U and mourning the loss of its former CEO, Satoru Iwata.
Former Nintendo employees and contractors described a work environment that became increasingly micromanaged. Sources described having to maintain exhaustive timesheets that accounted for virtually every minute of their day, leading to increased paranoia about taking breaks or letting their Microsoft Teams status shift to idle. Social media posts were also closely monitored, which begat paranoia among employees that their online engagement could result in being reprimanded or fired.
“You couldn’t even really go to the bathroom without someone noticing you were away from your desk,” one source recounted.
Contractors especially bore these burdens: These individuals were handed similar responsibilities to full-time employees, yet they were restricted from accessing most of NoA’s main campus and unable to attend the company’s holiday parties or join its diversity groups. The overall result is a culture that enables an air of superiority among full-time employees and a feeling of being “second-class citizens” among contractors.
Following his high-profile defamation suit against Amber Heard, his ex-wife, Johnny Depp said he wouldn’t return to his role as Jack Sparrow in Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean.
Depp says he was dropped from Pirates 6 following the publication of Heard’s op-ed in the Washington Post. A report in the Daily Mail claimed Disney was done with Depp, though longtime Pirates producer Jerry Bruckheimer has since refuted that report.
Regardless of Disney’s position, Depp says his time with the role has come to an end: “That is true,” Depp replied when asked if “nothing on this earth would get [him] to go back and work with Disney on a Pirates of the Caribbean film.”
The Best Game of 2022
The Sims 4 added custom pronouns to its Create-a-Sim feature earlier this year. The new system expands the previously binary pronoun options — he/him, she/her — to include they/they and custom options.
It’s another step in developer Maxis’s long-running commitment to inclusivity, which dates back to its debut of same-sex relationships in 2000 and its expansion of racial and cultural diversity in the years since.
“This kind of virtual affirmation, especially from a large, mainstream video game like The Sims, can go a long way in reminding LGBTQIA+ players that they are seen, valued, and understood,” said Stephanie DeBiase, gaming and future tech coordinator for the It Gets Better Project, which assisted Maxis in the implementation of this feature.
The Most Powerful Villains in the MCU
The third episode of Disney+’s Loki confirmed the character’s bisexuality, making him the first canonically LGBTQ character in MCU history. Following the reveal, Loki actor Tom Hiddleston said it was a “small step” for representation, adding “there’s further to go.”
Director Kate Herron echoed Hiddleston’s sentiment: “It is a part of who he is and who I am too. I know this is a small step but I’m happy, and my heart is so full, to say that this is now canon in [the] MCU.”
Among the many industries affected by the pandemic were movie theaters, which saw dramatic decreases in revenue due to government restrictions and changes in consumer behavior. In August 2022, nearly two and a half years after the pandemic began, the world’s second-biggest theater chain filed for bankruptcy.
Cineworld, which owns Regal Cinemas, filed for bankruptcy after amassing nearly $5 billion in debt. The filing came after post-pandemic revenues failed to meet expectations across its 751 theaters worldwide.
“Despite a gradual recovery of demand since reopening in April 2021, recent admission levels have been below expectations,” said Cineworld in a statement. “These lower levels of admissions are due to a limited film slate that is anticipated to continue until November 2022 and are expected to negatively impact trading and the group’s liquidity position in the near term.”
More recently, Cineworld says it expects to come out of bankruptcy without auctioning off any of its businesses, according to Bloomberg.
Real-world facial reconstruction technology was used to render a life-like image of a skeleton from Skyrim. Ancestral Whispers, a facial reconstruction organization, posted its result on Twitter of the reconstructed Atmoran (a fictional race of ancient men from the world of Elder Scrolls).
Jonah Lobe, who designed the skeleton while working for Bethesda, took notice and replied, praising the render’s accuracy: “I wanted them to look thuggish, thick-jawed, thick-browed and sort of Neanderthal-like. This is that.”
Chris Hemsworth, best known for his role as Thor in the MCU, announced he was taking a break from acting after discovering he possessed a genetic predisposition to Alzheimer’s disease.
“It’s not a pre-deterministic gene, but it is a strong indication,” Hemsworth said of the discovery. “It really triggered something in me to want to take some time off. And since we finished [filming Limitless], I’ve been completing the things I was already contracted to do. Now when I finish this tour this week, I’m going home and I’m going to have a good chunk of time off and just simplify. Be with the kids, be with my wife.”
Hemsworth discovered the predisposition while filming the National Geographic show Limitless. Specifically, the actor found he has two copies of the APOE4 gene, which may increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
Disney offered to remove the vulnerable scene from airing, but Hemsworth insisted it remained in the final edit: “Look, if this is a motivator for people to take better care of themselves and also understand that there are steps you can take—then fantastic. My concern was I just didn’t want to manipulate it and overdramatize it and make it into some sort of hokey grab at empathy or whatever for entertainment.”
Hemsworth most recently starred in Thor: Love and Thunder. The actor has also wrapped filming for two upcoming movies: Extraction 2 and the Mad Max prequel Furosia.
IGN readers (and the internet at large) were deeply disturbed and disturbingly fascinated by the reveal of Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey, an upcoming horror movie that sees the beloved childhood bear reimagined as a sadistic serial killer.
In Blood and Honey Pooh and Piglet go “back to their animal roots,” after Christopher Robin leaves them to go to college. “They’ve essentially become feral,” said director Ryhs Frake-Waterfield. “They’re no longer tame: they’re like a vicious bear and pig who want to go around and try and find prey.”
The film was made possible in 2022 when the character entered the public domain. It hits theaters on February 15, 2023. A Blood and Honey sequel is already being planned.
Deadpool’s long-awaited entry into the MCU is scheduled for November 8, 2024, and the Merc with a Mouth is bringing a friend: Deadpool 3 will reunite Ryan Reynolds’s Deadpool with Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine.
The duo announced the news in a video posted to Twitter, in which Reynolds asks Jackman if he wants to play Wolverine one more time, to which Jackman responds, “Yeah, sure, Ryan.”
Jackman previously said he was done with the role following 2017’s Logan, making the surprise announcement that much more impactful. The duo says their characters’ pairing has been brewing for a long time, ever since Disney completed its acquisition of 21st Century Fox in 2019.
For more, check out our six burning questions about Deadpool and Wolverine’s MCU debuts.
It’s your 345th attempt to kill Malenia. Tired of the grind, you decide to call in reinforcements. You lay down a summoning sign outside the arena and wait. Moments later, the call is answered: A man appears before you wearing only the skimpiest of underwear and a jar over his head. His name reads “Let me solo her.” So you do, and so he does, single-handedly crushing Elden Ring’s hardest boss with ease. He bows. And then he’s gone.
This experience has been repeated well over 1,000 times by the count of the person behind Let Me Solo Her (LMSH), whom IGN’s Rebekah Valentine spoke with back in April. (“I think I’m around 1400 by now,” LMSH wrote in a YouTube comment posted in June.)
LMSH is a legend in the Elden Ring community. His journey toward began mastering Malenia began during his initial run of Elden Ring, when it took him 242 attempts to kill what many believe to be the game’s hardest boss. Following his own struggle, he decided to help others: “I chose Malenia to help others because I fell in love with her design. All her attacks are very graceful and she is unforgiving as a boss. Her infamous waterfowl dance is considered to be the [hardest] to dodge moveset from a FromSoft boss to date, so I decided to prove to others that it was not impossible.”
As for the outfit (or lack thereof), it’s essentially a flex: “It is a running tradition of Soulsborne games that the naked players are the most powerful beings in the game. Why wear armor if you don’t plan on getting hit at all? And the pot is a good luck charm from the character Iron Fist Alexander whom I admire.”
It was a turbulent year for The Flash actor Ezra Miller. Back in June, a court was reportedly unable to locate Miller after they deleted their Instagram account and seemingly went off the grid. The court was looking to serve an order of protection against Miller after the parents of an 18-year-old accused the actor of “psychologically manipulating, physically intimidating and endangering the safety and welfare of [their child].”
This latest report added to a yearslong string of legal trouble for Miller, which has reportedly included a prior order of protection, an arrest for disorderly conduct in Hawaii, and an arrest for felony burglary in Vermont. Miller pleaded not guilty to the burglary charge, for which they face a maximum prison sentence of 26 years and over $2,000 in fines.
In August, Miller apologized for their behavior, citing “complex mental health issues.” Despite the legal troubles, WB is seemingly moving forward with Miller as its Flash, as the company brought the actor back for reshoots in October. The Flash movie hits theaters on June 16, 2023.
During San Diego Comic-Con, Disney revealed its initial plans for MCU’s Phase 6, which will conclude with Avengers: Secret Wars on May 1, 2026. Marvel also confirmed Phase 6 will bring an end to The Multiverse Saga that kicked off with Phase 4.
At the time, Marvel announced Phase 6 would begin with Fantastic Four on November 8, 2024. However, Deadpool 3 has since taken that November slot, while Fantastic Four has been pushed to February 14, 2025. The only other confirmed Phase 6 movie is Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, currently scheduled for May 2, 2025.
In early February, Rockstar announced the inevitable: it was developing a new Grand Theft Auto game. In fact, the studio said active development on GTA 6 (unofficial title) was “well underway.”
While the announcement was no surprise, it was welcome news to GTA fans who’ve been waiting on a new entry since the release of Grand Theft Auto 5 in 2013. What was surprising, however, was what followed.
In July, Bloomberg got the scoop on the first (unofficial) GTA 6 details. The outlet reported Rockstar’s next big open-world adventure would feature two protagonists: a pair of bank robbers comprised of a Latina woman and a yet-to-be-detailed man. The duo and the game’s story are said to be inspired by real-life criminals Bonnie & Clyde.
The report stated GTA 6 will be set in Vice City and updated with “new missions and cities on a regular basis.” The game was said to originally include a massive map with territories spanning North and South America, though those plans were scrapped, in part, to reduce crunch.
Then, in September, 90 videos leaked showing early gameplay footage of GTA 6. The leak, which showcased robberies, gunplay, fully voiced conversations, and more, seemed to corroborate the aforementioned Bloomberg report, as the videos showed both male and female protagonists, as well as the reported Vice City setting.
Rockstar quickly confirmed the legitimacy of the leak, saying the videos were illegally obtained and distributed following a network intrusion. “We are extremely disappointed to have any details of our next game shared with you all in this way,” said Rockstar. “Our work on the next Grand Theft Auto game will continue as planned and we remain as committed as ever to delivering an experience to you, our players, that truly exceeds your expectations.”
In November Disney announced a major shake-up atop its corporate ladder, replacing Bob Chapek with Bob Iger as CEO. Chapek succeeded Iger as Disney’s CEO in 2020; Iger previously held the position from 2005 to 2020.
“The Board has concluded that as Disney embarks on an increasingly complex period of industry transformation, Bob Iger is uniquely situated to lead the company through this pivotal period,” the company said alongside the announcement.
Iger led Disney through historic growth during his previous fifteen-year stint as CEO. It was under Iger that Disney acquired Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, and 21st Century Fox — moves that have contributed greatly to the company’s continued box-office dominance. Iger also led Disney through its launch of Disney+.
“I am deeply honored to be asked to again lead this remarkable team, with a clear mission focused on creative excellence to inspire generations through unrivaled, bold storytelling,” said Iger.
Chapek inherited the difficult task of running Disney — a company reliant on in-person engagement at the box office and its parks — through the pandemic. The company’s most recent quarterly earnings report showed a loss of nearly $1.5 billion in the streaming division alone; the company’s stock subsequently dropped to a two-year low.
On top of pandemic-related challenges, Chapek struggled with several public-facing dilemmas, including a falling out with Iger, the Scarlett Johansson-Black Widow pay dispute, and Disney’s initial response to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
In yet another surprising move, Netflix announced Liam Hemsworth will replace Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia beginning with The Witcher: Season 4.
“My journey as Geralt of Rivia has been filled with both monsters and adventures, and alas, I will be laying down my medallion and my swords for Season 4,” Cavill said. “As with the greatest of literary characters, I pass the torch with reverence for the time spent embodying Geralt and enthusiasm to see Liam’s take on this most fascinating and nuanced of men.”
Cavill earned acclaim for his portrayal of the mutated monster-slayer, both for his performance and his reverence for the source material. “Cavill clearly relishes the role; he’s often shared his adoration of the books and the CD Projekt Red video games, and that shines through,” Matt Purslow wrote in IGN’s The Witcher: Season 1 review. “His look and demeanor for the show is essentially a high-end cosplay of Geralt from the games. His gravelly vocal performance captures the character’s decades-long weariness, which, when combined with mostly curt, short lines of dialogue helps convey a man who often has little interest in the debauched kings or squabbling people who hire him.”
The news followed Cavill’s announcement that he’d be returning to the role of Superman in the DCEU. Fortunately for fans of Cavill’s portrayal, there’s still more to come; Season 3 of the Witcher is scheduled to hit Netflix in Summer 2023.
As for Hemsworth, the Hunger Games actor said he, too, is a fan of The Witcher, adding he’s “over the moon about the opportunity to play Geralt of Rivia.”
Will Smith, the charming, multi-talented performer who won audiences over with a unique mix of bravado and vulnerability for the last 30 years, fell from grace after walking on stage and assaulting Chris Rock during the 94th Academy Awards in March.
“The Slap,” as it’s become known, took the air out of a night meant for celebration and marred what would have otherwise been a career moment for Smith, who went on to win his first Best Actor Oscar for his role in King Richard.
The drama began when Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair: “Jada, I love ya. G.I. Jane 2, can’t wait to see it!” Smith then walked on stage nonchalantly, approached Rock, and slapped him across the face. Smith said he took issue with the dig at his wife’s medical condition (alopecia, which results in hair loss). Smith has since apologized numerous times and is now on something of an apology tour while promoting his upcoming Apple TV+ film, Emancipation.
The Academy responded by banning Smith from the Oscars, and all other Academy events, for the next 10 years. Rock addressed the moment during a stand-up routine shortly after: “Yeah, that sh*t hurt, motherf***er. But I shook that sh*t off and went to work the next day. I don’t go to the hospital for a paper cut.” More recently, during his European tour with Dave Chapelle, Rock responded to Smith’s apology video by saying “f*ck your hostage video.”
In late October, Warner Bros. Discovery tapped director James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy, The Suicide Squad) and producer Peter Safran to lead DC Studios as co-CEOs. DC Studios, which replaces DC Films, houses most of WB Discovery’s DC film, TV, and animation projects.
Following the WB-Discovery merger, CEO David Zaslav was said to be looking for a counterpart to Marvel’s Kevin Feige, and the company believes it’s found that in Gunn and Safran. Gunn will head up the studio’s creative efforts and continue directing DC films, while Safran will handle the business end of things and continue producing. The duo replaces Walter Hamada, who left the company in October.
“The opportunity to make DC as great as it can be, and as it should be, that is the reason why I’m doing this job, because I know that Peter and I can do that,” Gunn said. Gunn and Safran have already begun work on an eight to 10-year plan for DC. IGN comics writer Jesse Schedeen wrote Gunn and Safran are looking to Star Wars, rather than Marvel, for inspiration on how to craft a successful cinematic universe.
The positive reception to the announcement has been a much-needed win for WB Discovery, which has been scrutinized for various decisions since the merger. Among those decisions were the cancellation of Batgirl and the merging of HBO Max and Discovery+ into a single streaming service that may be called “Max.”
Most recently, reports indicate Gunn and Safran may shutter the Synderverse entirely. According to The Hollywood Reporter, DC Studio’s new leadership duo, in service to a fresh start for the brand, may cancel future Wonder Woman, Superman, and Aquaman films, ending Gal Gadot, Henry Cavill, and Jason Momoa’s runs as each respective DC hero.
Microsoft Acquires Activision Blizzard: The Story So Far
2. Acquisition Madness: Xbox Buys Activision Blizzard, Sony Buys Bungie, Embracer Group Buys Middle-earth Enterprises
Consolidation continued its rampant run through the games industry in 2022, and no deal was bigger than Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision-Blizzard for $68.7 billion USD. Should the deal go through, it’d be the most-expensive video game-related acquisition by a long shot. It’s currently facing scrutiny from regulatory commissions across the world, including the CMA in the U.K. and the FTC in the U.S., which has now sued Microsoft in an attempt to block the deal.
The biggest hiccup seems to be Sony’s push against making Call of Duty exclusive to Xbox consoles. Microsoft responded to that concern by offering Sony a 10-year deal to keep Call of Duty on its rival PlayStation platform — a deal Nintendo subsequently accepted. As of December 7, a ruling on the merger has yet to be made in both the U.K. and the U.S.
Before Microsoft’s made its industry-shaking announcement, Take-Two was home to the biggest games-related acquisition for a single week in January thanks to its $12.7 billion acquisition of mobile gaming giant Zynga. (Microsoft’s announcement came just eight days later.)
Sony, refusing to miss out on January 2022’s acquisition party, snatched up Destiny developer Bungie for a cool $3.6 billion. Later in the year, Embracer Group continued its spending spree by purchasing a number of studios and IPs from Square Enix, including Crystal Dynamics, Eidos-Montréal, Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, Thief, Legacy of Kain, and more. It then snatched up Middle-earth Enterprises, which came with the film, game, merchandise, theme park, and stage play rights to The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.
Other notable game studio acquisitions in 2022 include Nordisk Games’ purchase of Supermassive Games (Dark Pictures, The Quarry) and NetEase’s purchase of Quantic Dream (Heavy Rain, Star Wars Eclipse).
Elon Musk and His $44 Billion Takeover of Twitter: The Story So Far
The top news story of the year on IGN was Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter. The Tesla and SpaceX CEO completed his $44 billion USD purchase of the social media site on October 27.
The Musk-Twitter saga began in April when Musk purchased 9.2% of the company to become its largest single shareholder. He used his newfound influence to push for an edit button, which was confirmed to be in the works a day later, though Twitter said the feature had been in development well before Musk’s call to action.
Former Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal seemingly welcomed Musk’s stake in the company at first, planning to appoint Musk to Twitter’s board of directors, saying the entrepreneur would add “great value.”
A week later Musk announced he wouldn’t be joining Twitter’s board of directors, and shortly after he offered to buy the company outright for $44 billion. Twitter’s board responded by unanimously trying to block Musk’s takeover, though just 10 days later it accepted the bid.
After some public back and forth regarding Twitter’s bot numbers, Musk withdrew his offer and was sued by Twitter. Musk avoided trial by voluntarily completing the buyout in October, then promptly fired its CEO, CFO, head of legal policy, trust, and safety, and general counsel.
What’s followed has been a messy series of events, including an ever-changing attempt to overhaul Twitter’s verification system, layoffs of roughly half of Twitter’s staff, the end of remote work for Twitter employees, and mass resignations,
As for the future, Musk says he hopes to step away from running Twitter. Bankruptcy isn’t out of the question either, according to Musk, while the Federal Trade Commission says it’s “tracking recent development at Twitter with deep concern.”
We’ll be following this ongoing story throughout 2023. Stay tuned to IGN for the latest.
There you have it: IGN’s 20 most significant news stories of 2022. What do you think was the most impactful story of the year? Which big headlines were you surprised to find missing from our list? Let us know in the comments!
Jordan Sirani is a freelance writer for IGN.