Sports video games changed their covers just before they’re released. It’s happened to FIFA and PES, it’s also happened to Madden and NBA 2K. It’s now also happening with Cricket 22, this time for a disturbing reason.
This is a problem for those producing and marketing the games, but not usually the biggest deal.
Cricket 22, developers Big Ant had selected as one of two cover stars Tim Paine, the Australian captain, assuming this would be a famous and safe choice. Which it was, right up until last week where it appeared he had sent “lewd messages” and an unsolicited dick pic to a female ex-colleague.
It happened in 2018. At the time he was cleared after private investigations by local cricket authorities discovered the exchange was “consensual.” But the investigation only took place at all because the woman getting the messages had filed an official complaint, leading to the local discussion over just how consensual they were.
The scandal became public late last week, and as a result, Paine has stepped down from captaincy, which in cricket is a much more powerful figure than in most other sports. He will, however, continue to play for Australia in the coming Ashes series Vs England.
It has been concluded that Paine will also be removed as the cover star of the game, with developers Big Ant releasing the below statement:
Hello cricket fans!
We know you’re excited to get your hands on Cricket 22 – The Official Game Of The Ashes.
We’re every bit as keen to get the game to you, as the team has been working incredibly hard to make what we believe is our greatest title yet.
Unfortunately, factors beyond our control have meant that we need to update the game’s cover art, other visuals and team lists. There was a critical day 1 patch that players will need to enjoy the full Cricket 22 experience that has consequently needed to be revoked. The new patch won’t be ready for release until December 2.
As a result, we have made the difficult decision to delay the game’s release by a week for all platforms both physical and digital. This is the first time Big Ant Studios have ever had to delay a game release, but we find ourselves in an unprecedented position. Everyone at Big Ant Studios would like to thank our fans and supporters for understanding our need to do this, ensuring the game is as full and authentic a cricket experience as is possible.
We will update you with further details soon. In the meantime, circle December 2 on the calendar!
We can’t wait to see you out there on the field.
Ross Symons, CEO, and the Big Ant team
— Big Ant Studios (@BigAntStudios) November 22, 2021