1. Now that we’ve won all the Emmys, it’s time to move on to winning all the Grammys!

  2. Great podcast, as always. I’m just curious, were a lot of people really upset about the kiss? It was more of an eye roll moment for me, and it seems to be kind of reactionary to categorize it as “being dunked on”. The Last of Us part one made the character lesbian in the first game’s DLC (which I’ll agree seemed unnecessary and pandering, especially considering she was a young girl in the first game), so we could’ve suspected something like this, and it being held in a church would certainly be in poor taste for some. I suppose my point is that people who would be offended by lesbian displays of affection would have already been turned off to this series. People on both sides of the political spectrum could benefit from having thicker skin about this stuff, if we want to avoid the constant outrage pissing match that seems to be going on. The butthurt only seems to add fuel to the fire.

  3. @Fumunshu: That they were preaching to the choir with their cutscene does not preclude (indeed, quite the opposite) the air of deliberate triumphalism with which they did it. That’s what is meant by ‘dunking on’; this was very much a group of people all of the same mindset who sat down in a group to tell each other how victorious they are over the ‘bigots’.

  4. That scene was so cringey. WHY DID SHE WIPE HER SWEAT ON HER FACE!?

  5. @lusipurr I suppose the true triumph would be their number of sales when the game is released, which will probably be high. The Naughty Dog games tend to do pretty well, and are heralded by the larger gaming press. I’m not sure this behavior will really be discouraged in a financial sense. The first game itself was kind of a by the numbers Resident Evil clone, albeit with decent graphical polish, but not terribly remarkable from a gameplay perspective. The focus on narriative seems to be their selling point, and a coming of age homosexual romance w/fungus zombies just kind of strikes me as at best silly, at worst uninteresting and corny. The press will still eat that up, so I suspect this isn’t the last of the self congratulatory dunking. Dig in, I guess.

  6. @Durga: Maybe it is sexy for lesbians? I dunno? ?? ??? ? ??? ?

    @Fumunshu: It should be distressing for the homosexual community that instead of such games being celebrated for being great games (although Last of Us is not great) which has characters who just happen to be homosexual, it is instead celebrated for just having homosexual characters, quite irrespective of the game itself which is rather mediocre. That’s tokenism, and in the long run it harms (not helps!) attempts to normalise homosexual characters, which is what they claim to want.

    I suspect what many such game ‘activists’ want instead is for anything involving homosexual characters to be beyond criticism (cf Ghostbusters–i.e. if you critique the gameplay of The Last of Us, you’re a homophobe and a bigot). That way, they put themselves beyond disagreement, and exert the very authority against their ideological enemies that they claim was unjust when it was used against them: and that’s just a matter of switching riders without changing the fundamentally unjust fact that someone is wearing a saddle.

  7. I’m just curious, were a lot of people really upset about the kiss?

    I don’t know what the average Ign normie thought of it, but I have seen a bunch of negative comments on Niche Gamer, Youtube, and (of course) 4chan. TLoU is so big though that if the normies don’t care about it then any negative impact to sales will seem negligible.

    It was more of an eye roll moment for me, and it seems to be kind of reactionary to categorize it as “being dunked on”.

    They put a prolonged smelly lesbian kiss right at the front and center of their E3 showcase, and even destroyed the pace of Sony’s conference by insisting that it take place in a church, separately from the rest of Sony’s conference.

    There is no other way to interpret this other than ND dunking on conservatives.

  8. @Lusi: The geniuses at Sony were behind Lady Ghostbusters and its victimhood marketing, and I would fucking LOVE IT if the same marketing team was put on TLoU2, and attempted to control the conversation in the same way – because that absolutely would hurt the game’s sales!

  9. Mulholland Drive was 17 years ago. Hot lesbian sex is old hat. The video game industry is like a half century behind progressive wank fest. Maybe some lube and a copy of Black Swan will calm their nerves. At least then its real people pretending to have sex instead of uncanny CG models.

  10. @SN: If they want to kill their franchise dead and alienate their userbase, THAT’S THE WAY TO DO IT.

    @RabidKitten: I think the reason they went with the whole (bizarre, even weirdly creepy/perverse) ‘smelly’ thing is because they must have realised at some point in the process, “Uh oh, dudebros love watching lesbian porn,” and so they had to put something in to serve as a splash of cold water.

    The fact that there is and has been for decades an entire porn industry built on serving up lesbian sex to heterosexual male purchasers should probably be a sign that making it their key ‘take that, cis-men!’ position was a mistake. But don’t worry, “At E3 2018 the bigots lost,” etc etc etc.

    Show me the hordes of actual gamers saying, “I’m not going to buy games with women in them!” and I’ll concede the point. But we all know that no one has said any such thing except for a handful of false flag anon accounts created to give credence to this bullshit and one or two genuine whack jobs. Who’s the deranged party, exactly?

  11. I never played TLoU, but were lesbians a big part of it? It seemed weird for them to be front and center in the sequel trailer.

  12. @Imitanis: Not really. But I guess they got enough applause from people in problem glasses to conclude that doing it on a bigger stage would be to their advantage.

  13. @Imitanis: Not in the first game proper, but then some months later ND released some DLC about Ellie doing the gay thing with a vibrant minority!

  14. @SiliconNoob I respect your opinion, and I regularly enjoy your writing/takes on a wide array gaming subjects, however I would be hesitant to…pack someone else’s lunch with your own sandwiches, so to speak. It could also be likely that these people have a tunnel vision around their own grandious narriative ambitions, and I guess I just see them as floaty autoflatulant smellers than someone with more nefarious troll like intentions. From an audio engineering/live sound perspective, the choice of venue could’ve been more of an acoustics/lighting ambience decision, as churches/chapels acoustic designs lend themselves to an intimate performance for something like a banjo, so as someone educated and experienced in that field, that’s how I took it. You could be right though, and it wouldn’t be the first time I have misinterpreted someone’s agenda.

  15. Given that the Last of Us trailer wasn’t particularly in need of special acoustics (it was quite audio-visually blase really) and, in fact, the sound engineering in the convention centre is much better (the acoustics there were good–it’s largely set up like a movie theatre), there was no technical need to that I can discern necessitating the change of venue. In fact, switching to the Church probably resulted in worse, not better, audio results for the attendees.

    I’m inclined to side with SN on this one. Being as intellectually charitable as I can, I’m afraid I just can’t imagine a bunch of Sony execs concluding, “Actually, we’ll need to stop our presentation mid-programme and move everyone across to the Church so that our Last of Us 2 trailer can benefit from better audio acoustics. We can move people back across the street and resume the rest of the programme when we’re done.” That’s not how they think, even if it were the case.

    Moreover, there’s just no way that they could bang on about how ‘progressive’ they are being with that kiss (which they did, knowingly and deliberately), without being aware that having that (and only that) presented in a church would constitute an additional facet to their message. One doesn’t forget one’s ideological foes whilst also deliberately targetting them, so to speak. They were deliberately trying to make a point with the whole thing; so, the choice of venue was almost certainly related to that. Given how much attention they were trying to focus on this one moment, one would have to do far more than simply give the benefit of the doubt in order to conclude that showing only that sequence in a church was just some kind of wacky coincidence.

    I mean, if they stop the show to bring everyone across the street so they can watch the hosts urinate on the altar, and then turn around and bring everyone back to the convention centre, they could still argue, “Well, it was just a coincidence. We really had to use the bathroom right at that moment. We couldn’t help it.” Yes. Right. Okay. Sure. So, it’s impossible for us to know for a certainty what their motivation was–but that doesn’t mean that we can’t draw inductively strong conclusions which warrant belief.

  16. @Lusipurr You didn’t see them as trying to do something intimate with the lighting and venue? Through my time doing live sound, I’ve worked with several musicians and bands who chose smaller venues specifically for intimate purposes. These large venues tend to be reinforced sound wise with line array speakers, which is quite an overkill for acoustic performances. Plus in the trailer, the lighting at the smelly kiss BBQ was exactly the same as the church…

  17. It could be very possible there was a duel purpose, and maybe we are both focusing on one over the other.

  18. @Fumunshu: No, I really didn’t. Sorry. And even if that were on the cards (and it’s not–the a/v controls in the convention centre are WAY more sophisticated, as is obvious from watching the various presentations), the execs aren’t going to shoot their entire performance in the foot just for a marginally improved light/sound arrangement for one trailer.

    …Unless, of course, that trailer is so important that it warrants sacrificing absolutely everything for it–in which case, obviously they would exercise the minimal amount of thought necessary to think “lesbian kiss” + “church” = hmm.

    You can’t have it both ways. Either the trailer is just a trailer (and that’s all it really looks like technically), so it doesn’t warrant special technical arrangements. OR the trailer is something very, very important, and in such a case patently obvious realities can’t be plausibly denied as mere coincidences.

    Given that their own discussion of the trailer is focused on its message, it is easy to conclude which of the two above is the case. The principle of intellectual parsimony carries the rest in default of any magical knowledge into the mind of the Sony execs themselves (and unfortunately I’m still working on my mind-reading machine; right now it only works half the time and it kills the subject 100% of the time, so further testing is needed).

  19. @Lusipurr Fair Enough. I suppose I have a tendency to discourage partisan ideological conflict, just because it often frustrating and annoying to see. I hope our discussion wasn’t frustrating or annoying, as that was not my intention, I just enjoy the opportunity to have a back and forth with those whom I respect, even if we disagree at times. I donated to the fundraiser today, and I hope that it helps the site, as I do enjoy it throughly.

  20. @Fumunshu: Absolutely not frustrating or annoying at all. It’s good to be able to flesh out my/our thinking here so that people don’t conclude that we are just very, very bitter. (It can seem that way at times, I know).

    If I was not absolutely clear on the podcast, I am not at all against games with diverse representation, and I try to give companies a degree of intellectual charity regarding how they design their games as well. But, at the same time, I don’t think the industry is well served (neither companies nor customers) by making games into an ideological battleground, which is what I think is being done in this particular case. Nor, consistent with my position regarding diverse representations, do I think that tokenism is a good idea. So this whole Sony kerfuffle annoys me on several levels.

    We are very ‘pro-consumer’ here at the site, and if we have an ideological bent, that is what it is. That is because, really, the rest of the gaming media seems to be either pro-company/pro-developer or pro-political-position (or, more often, a combination of the two). To those game journos (whom we derisively call journopros) the consumer is just seen as a sort of pawn to be used in their pitched ideological battles. We prefer to view them as the centre of the industry: the games are sold to them for their enjoyment; the money comes from them; it’s all for them, as such.

    When companies or individuals instead start thinking of how they can use the consumer to further some outside goal–usually socio-political–they can expect our harsh rebuke. The consumers aren’t pawns to be cynically exploited. They are the audience to be served and–if we have anything to say about it–served well.

    Thank you for your donation, too! I’ll update the graphic accordingly!

  21. I didn’t watch any E3. Did any other presentation occur at the church? I do find it distasteful that they involved a religious site in this, regardless of the implications of the subject matter. Yes, there are plenty of overzealous and hypocritical people using religion to “dunk” their own views over others, but don’t act like what you claim to want to change.

  22. @Tanzenmatt: No. Just TLoU2. The Sony presentation began with Naughty Dog doing their TLOU2 stuff in a Church, but then the whole thing had to move across the road (people and all) to continue in the convention centre with the rest of the Sony show (which had also done pre-show queueing at THAT location). Logistically it was a mess.

    I suppose it could be argued that this is down to Naughty Dog rather than Sony (technically it was ND’s trailer after all), but Sony had to okay it to incorporate it in their own show, and they should have been more concerned (second-hand) about the optics (to say nothing of the logistics of shuffling their audience around) than Naughty Dog.

  23. Actually, I probably shouldn’t thank people for pushing me closer to having to play and review Undertale.


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