News: Playtonic Shows Contempt for Customers

Playtonic should have named him Zyklon Bee!
In response to Playtonic’s uncharitable characterisation of JonTron, many people are choosing to take an uncharitable view of Yooka-Laylee’s merchant antagonist!

Yooka Laylee Dev Shows Contempt for Audience

One of the more satisfying things about a properly good shitshow is that for the most part they can usually be avoided. They can be avoided but they are not avoided, usually though the lack of awareness exhibited by one or more of the parties involved. A couple of weeks ago popular Youtuber JonTron participated in a debate with some weird little pro-incest twitcher named Destiny. During this debate JonTron said some things that were super racist – like white people should not be forced to become a minority in their own countries. Scandalous!

Following this the mainstream media did to JonTron as they had done to Pewdiepie some weeks before, branding him a white supremacist and taking his words out of context when they bothered to even quote him at all. This then Prompted NeoGaf to attack Jon in any way they could, and the way they eventually did this was to lobby Playtonic Games to cut their ties with him. Jon is a big fan of Banjo-Kazooie, and Playtonic is comprised of a number of people who worked on that game, and so JonTron helped to promote their Kickstarter, and subsequently contributed a small amount of voice work to their game, Yooka-Laylee, free of charge.

NeoGaf’s salty social justice campaign eventually worked, and Playtonic released a statement disavowing JonTron, where they promised to remove all of his voice acting from the game. Being removed from the game for the unforgivable crime of holding rightwing opinions is fucking bullshit, but the current political climate is what it is, so while Playtonic may come across as gutless for this, it is still for them to decide how they will respond to any potential threat to their game. So Playtonic are free to respond as they wish, but then the game’s backers are free to do the same.

There should not have been a problem here, as even JonTron tried to diffuse the situation:

Unfortunate to see Playtonic remove me from Yooka Laylee, but I understand their decision. I wish them the best with their launch!

There were of course some people who wanted a refund, which there would have been regardless, but at least Jon with his audience of three million Youtube subs was not actively exacerbating the situation. The terms of Kickstarter mean that Playtonic are not actually required to refund anyone’s money, yet in such situations many developers would offer refunds regardless, as the cost is likely negligible compared to the benefit of cleanly severing ties with dissatisfied backers. Playtonic and their publisher Team17 instead chose to lock threads and ban users who requested a refund. This occurred in both the Steam forums [courtesy of Team17] and also in Playtonic’s own forums [courtesy of Playtonic, presumably]. A blue-haired Team17 employee named Jonno even went on Twitter to brag about all the anime avatars he had managed to anger:

So many angry anime avatars…

When somebody says this it is a dead giveaway that they are a douchey SJW, since to them being into anime is the sign of some sort of moral failing. This author blames the toxicity of brightly couloured hair-dye coupled with the put-everything-in-your-mouth mentality of someone with the mental maturity of a three year old. Then again, perhaps they are merely salty over naturally coulourful anime hair, in which case they should stop appropriating anime culture!

So now people are getting banned from forums left right and centre, and folks who do not even care about JonTron are becoming upset at backing the game due to the discourtesy shown towards unhappy backers. Petty and controlling people are reaping what they have sewn, and it is glorious. Yooka-Laylee launches in two weeks and it already has the stench of Mighty No. 9 about it.

The game had better be perfect, because the internet is now rooting for it to fail. In a stroke Playtonic have dispelled any glass- half-full optimism that players may have greeted the game with, and now it will have to stand on its merits alone – which leaves it in an awkward position given it is a throwback platformer that has been deliberately designed to feel like an archaic N64 collectathon! It is a game created to appeal to emotion, but current emotions do not favour Playtonic or Yooka-Laylee.

This expression has 'Allie Leost' written all over it!
My face is tired from laughing!


Last week brought you the news that Mass Effect: Andromeda was a public laughing stock on account of its terrible animations. This week things are looking even worse for Bioware. Andromeda has been savaged by the hipster gaming press for its terrible animation and writing – one of the game’s writers is a Mary Sue blogger who claimed to have been literally raped on Grand Theft Auto V.

Now it has come to light exactly why the game’s animations are so bad: Bioware diversity hired an extremely minor eceleb cosplayer, Allie Leost, as their lead facial animator despite the fact that she was just out of school with no professional experience! This game had a forty million dollar budget! The best part is that the footage reel of her work that she was using for recruitment purposes showed her animating exclusively cartoonish hyper exaggerated characters, which makes perfect sense. Andromeda has realistic looking character models that are animated as though they were cartoons, which is the logical outcome of hiring someone who has only had experience in animating cartoons. The uncanny valley is palpable.

Due to the dire state of Andromeda‘s terrible animation coupled with the perception that Allie Leost was not hired on merit, the internet did what the internet does and let her know that she did a shit job on all her social media. Hilariously, Bioware’s Aaryn Flynn responded to this by telling blatant lies about the situation:

Recently, a former EA employee was misidentified as a lead member of the Mass Effect: Andromeda development team. These reports are false.

We respect the opinions of our players and community, and welcome feedback on our games. But attacking individuals, regardless of their involvement in the project, is never acceptable

This statement is actually quite interesting once one begins to dig into it. Flynn talks about respecting the opinion of fans and the community, yet it has not been long since Bioware closed their forums on account of their receiving too many unsolicited opinions that they did not respect. Did Bioware ever consider for a moment that if they had not shut the Bioware forums then Mass Effect fans would not have had to seek out the single biggest symptom of the problem on Twitter in order to make themselves heard to the company?

And why was Allie Leost ‘misidentified’ as the single biggest symptom of the problem? Because she stated in the bios of multiple social media accounts that she was the lead facial animator on Mass Effect: Andromeda. Flynn himself confirms she was working for EA, so does EA just allow their employees to fraudulently take credit for projects they are not a part of? Seems like the kind of thing that would be discouraged.

Claiming that people were misreporting the situation is just laughable, and more laughable still is the fact that Bioware thought they were doing Leost any favours by suggesting that she was actually lying about being the lead facial animator for the worst animation since Ride to Hell: Retribution. One is of the opinion that it is better to be criticised for incompetence than for being a fraud – it is just bizarre to think that Aaryn Flynn thought this would deescalate the situation. It is also bizarre to think that Bioware actually thought they were doing this person a favour by leap-frogging her into a position that she did not have the experience to fulfill.

Nor would I.
Would you trust this big fat stupid face?

Nintendo Is Drunk Again

Since the launch of the Nintendo Switch it has been sold out. It has been sold out due to scalpers, yet crucially the premiums they have been able to command have been very modest [especially compared to the NES Classic], which is interesting. Regardless, Nintendo have seized upon this situation in order to talk up the massive success of the Switch’s launch. According to Digital Times reporting Nintendo now estimates that they will ship 20 million consoles this year. Moreover Nintendo president Kimishima Tatsumi has stated that he expects the system to sell 110 million units in its lifetime, which means that Nintendo expects the system to sell almost twice as many units as the 3DS!

Why even stop at 110 million? Why not make it 110 billion? What exactly are Nintendo basing this insane optimism on? They starved Nintendo-only gamers of console software for a year, and then released the Switch alongside what is arguably the best 3D Zelda game ever made, and as a result of that they have sold 1.5 million consoles in a month. Is that really the metric for an amazing console launch? Did anyone actually imagine that the Switch would do significantly worse than that in the first month? The numbers one has been able to find for the Wii U are not directly comparable, but they do provide some perspective. In its first six weeks on sale the Wii U sold 890,000 units in America, 636,000 units in Japan, and an unknown number of units in the PAL territories. So in roughly three weeks the global sales for the Switch are as high as the combined American and Japanese sales for the Wii U were after six weeks on the market. It does seem like the Switch might be doing a bit better than the Wii U, but it is a stretch to contend that this somehow elevates the Switch into a whole new pantheon of success:

Nintendo has sold 1.5m Nintendo Switch consoles worldwide, SuperData says.

Using data supplied to it by both Famitsu and GfK, SuperData says that 500,000 consoles were sold in the US, 360,000 were sold in Japan while Europe ‘isn’t far behind’. The data tracker observes that 85,000 units were sold in the UK while France managed 110,000.

The best news is probably that there has not yet been any specific market where the Switch has begun to significantly under-perform. Perhaps the numbers here belie the actual demand for Nintendo Switch because there were not enough units at launch, but all that is just speculation, and the question of launch availability and demand was already distorted by scalpers anyway. Based on the numbers alone though it is far too early for Nintendo to be acting like smug cunts, so all their talk is likely a bluff based on wishful thinking.


  1. I think this whole Yooka-Laylee issue is really silly. I definitely wasn’t cool with the random nonsense JonTron said (because there were some weirdass comments made by him that extend beyond the white people becoming minorities topic), but even as a Kickstarter backer I really do not care about whether or not his voice is in the game. Consumers should be able to separate people and their works, and I think the thing that annoys me the most is that all JonTron probably did was a few grunts and giggles because that’s how the dialogue is presented in-game. It’s not even like Playtonic Games strongly advertised JonTron as a selling factor (I don’t even remember if they even made an official statement regarding his voicework aside from the tweet responding to his request)! That being said, while I do think that the people asking for refunds are being kinda silly since JonTron plays such a small part in that game, I think that Playtonic Games and the people who asked for JonTron to be removed are also being ridiculous. Banning people from commenting about recorded grunts from a minor character and whether or not it was the “right” thing to do? Going as far as to ban those who requested a refund? Ugh! This really should not have been a problem. Though, I don’t think the internet is now rooting for Yooka-Laylee to fail, I think that the very outspoken people on the issue are a minority when compared to the larger amount of people who just want nostalgia and don’t really seem to care about the behind the scenes. I just hope the game is playable and decent enough for a passing grade since I already bought it and plan to review it. :P

    Sorry for the giant block of text by the way!

  2. @Adeki: I agree with you. When I first read about it, I remember an article going over a bunch of his quotes, and some crossed the line from “protectionist” to racist. But even so, the guy could probably be a pretty good voice actor, so it is a shame that he’s being taken off the game. You know, free speech goes both ways. If you say something inciteful, expect a backlash. But he handled getting tossed from the game in a pretty classy way.

  3. See, JonTron clearly didn’t articulate himself well because I don’t think anything he said was too outside the realm of possibility or debate, definitely nothing worth going into a tizzy about. Then again I have heard what his actual views are in other streams too.

    Now the way the company has handled this has been terrible; they are now banning people left and right and refusing to provide any refunds. (I assumes there were a lot because a few refunds couldn’t have broken the bank and would have created good will.)

    The whole thing is controversy sired up by the current MSM to discredit new media and blown out of proportion by ignorant busybodies. In the end if you liked Banjo and the reviews come out and say the game is good and NOT a new Mighty No 9 then buy it otherwise they deserve any amount of trolling they are getting right now. (seriously the forum is a mess.)

  4. @Korusi: I’m curious, because I seriously don’t know, what mainstream media is reporting on JonTron?

    And just generally, I think this could have been a good opportunity for the gaming community to discuss and debate the viewpoints he expressed, but unfortunately it’s just shut down by name-calling, once again. I do believe in trying to come to a better consensus by exploring facts and different opinions for what’s good and works in them, rather than one-side-wins-all (be that side liberal or conservative or whatever).

    JonTron is not a politician with the power to screw anyone out of anything, just a guy with opinions and a wider audience than most. If anything, the debate is “should I follow someone as an entertainer who has outside opinions which I disagree with,” which is just up to the individual conscience.

    And boy, insulting your fans (i.e. the “angry anime avatars”) just does not help anybody!

  5. @Dancing Matt: Just do a search on JonTron on google and you’ll find tons of hit pieces about him. Polygon, Kotaku, Heatst, even Teen are all calling him a racist. They didn’t go to JonTron for comment instead deciding to write pieces on him until his brand became toxic. It’s the same thing they did to Pewdiepie. I don’t like Pewdiepie but what they did to him was awful and not the first time this has happened. It’s part of a cycle that has only recently been coined as “Veeh’s Law”

    As for the devs of Yooka Laylee: they better hope that game is damn good. Otherwise it’ll be a bloodbath.

  6. They didn’t go to JonTron for comment instead deciding to write pieces on him until his brand became toxic. It’s the same thing they did to Pewdiepie. I don’t like Pewdiepie but what they did to him was awful and not the first time this has happened.

    Look at who the mainstream press has picked as the worst racist Nazis on Youtube:

    >Colin Moriarty

    I have no idea what Pewdiepie’s political beliefs are, and Colin Moriarty’s center-right beliefs are so mild that he didn’t vote for Trump. They aren’t going after Nazis, and they aren’t even going after the far right – they are going after any popular Youtuber who can be tenuously and tortuously construed as having any rightwing beliefs whatsoever.

    The mainstream press is dying because they produce bad content, and their answer to this is to attack Youtubers. Can you honestly picture all these blogs going after Colin Moriarty for making a harmless joke if he was still working for IGN? Fuck no – because if that were the case then he would have been one of them!

    I don’t think the internet is now rooting for Yooka-Laylee to fail, I think that the very outspoken people on the issue are a minority when compared to the larger amount of people who just want nostalgia and don’t really seem to care about the behind the scenes.

    When I say the internet wants it to fail, I mean the part of the internet that will shape its accompanying narrative wants it to fail. That is to say the part of the internet that controlled the conversation surrounding Mighty no. 9, Ghostbusters, Mass Effect Andromeda, DmC, last year’s Baldur’s Gate expansion, etc.

    If the game is truly excellent then such negative attention will mean little, but then I don’t think Yooka Laylee will be an excellent game. Just this evening I saw that two SJW reviewers were trying to warn people against pre-orders, and there have also been rumours that the game’s performance is terrible [which makes sense because it uses Unity]. I think the game will be flawed, and Playtonic’s actions will guarantee that these flaws receive the worst possible reception.

  7. @SiliconNooB That’s pretty much what I expect at this point really. It’s beginning to be a cycle in and of it’s self and nobody is learning anything.

    1. Disrespect your audience and create nostalgic shovel ware without concern for the consumer.
    2. Create a toxic work environment made of SJ types and attack your audience.
    3. Stir up controversy all while virtue signaling
    4. Release game call anyone that hates it: (Insert Label)
    5. Blame failure of game on your audience, rinse, repeat.

  8. I mean, my definition of “mainstream media” versus “new media” is television and print, versus websites (besides those that are web versions of other media). Certainly there are websites which are more mainstream than others as well. So I guess that’s where I got confused.

    JonTron hasn’t said explicitly, like one race is superior to others, kind of racist statements, and proably the most salient are about how some races commit more crimes than others. I don’t know the statistics, and cannot comment on that. There is enough that is controversial to people who disagree with his viewpoint anyways.

    Now with Pewdiepie, again I’m not reading all of the mainstream coverage of what happened to him, but I know the basic facts about what he did to get dropped from advertising, and that action was certainly warranted. Whatever website commenters have to say about these guys after the fact is just what happens, but anyone who calls themselves a “journalist” instead of “blogger” needs to hold themselves to higher standards than alt-right or SJW triggerbait.

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