Let’s just take a deep breath, settle down and try to process just how immensely tragic this entire, sordid affair is. The leaked information that has emerged, detailing critical excerpts of one of this generations most anticipated sequels is unquestionably one of the most shocking examples of treachery the games industry has ever seen. Though I’m sure many would argue that the disagreeable story is exponentially worse. Speculation continues over the source of the leaks, as people debate whether the admission originated from a disgruntled former employee of NaughtyDog or whether Sony’s official position that it could actually be attributed to a hacker. Whatever the means the result is still the same. The damage is done and its unclear whether NaughtyDog can recover from such a catastrophic grievance.
People are hurt. Betrayed even. Which is totally understandable considering the unique circumstances we find ourselves in. But this leak not only tarnishes the credibility of an illustrious studio, one that has enriched story telling in games to the extent that even major Hollywood studios have tried to replicate the games cinematic refinement, but also demonstrates the inherent toxicity that afflicts the wider gaming firmament. People seem to relish in the failure of others, genuinely elated that a prestigious studio, with a highly ambitious sequel is being so vehemently condemned. Not because of any altruistic concern for the supposed mistreatment of employees, but simply because they get some kind of perverted satisfaction from seeing something so celebrated falter.
As valuable and as inclusive as social media is, it can also be interminably cynical. The involuntary disclosure of sensitive plot details is disastrous, something that can’t be underestimated nor diminished. A game that contains such a sinuous narrative, and relies heavily on the unexpected, as well as the discovery of these astonishing revelations through a profoundly affecting journey is vital. Without the preamble the entire journey is comprimised. But just because you know the broad, pertinent details that consolidates the story, doesn’t necessarily mean that it amalgamates the experience. And that’s the thing, you have to experience the journey. To vicariously endure the same struggles that torments these characters. To really feel what they feel. Just because you know specific details or watched revealing material, doesn’t mean you know. It would be like summarising “The Lord Of The Rings” trilogy by saying its a 9 hour long expedition to return some unwanted jewellery!
Whether or not you are/were going to buy “The Last Of Us II” is entirely at your own discretion. Personally, despite being an advocate for gaming sequels, particularly one of a game of such esteemed notoriety, I had little interest in a continuation of a story that depicted a final, if not conclusive ending. Just don’t let the leaked footage be the contributing reason for not getting “The Last Of Us II”. This is a game that has to be experienced, not dismissed.
Have these leaks put you off? Let me know in the comments below. Cheers.
Its been a rather sobering experience for Sony of late. Not since a Vietnamese abattoir replaced its floor with steel grates and industrial sized air conditioning has shit hit the fan quite so consistently. The persistent rumours about the PS5’s build quality and concerns about overheating. The Last Of Us II’s premature reveal and May’s PS Plus exclusive games being as well received as a tounge kiss from a pangolin, which has lead to an online petition to boycott this month’s free games. With the PS5 shrouded in a fog of corporate annonimity and any new information regarding it’s existence being as elusive as Boris Johnson in a pandemic, is there cause for concern? Perhaps. Sony are a notoriously stubborn brand. Secretive and protective in their approach to communicating information to consumers. Yet their reluctance to project the usual Sony posturing that has become emblematic of the success of the Ps4 hasn’t gone unnoticed. This uncertainty however provokes the insufferable engagement of rival “fans” and defence from “supporters”. The amplifiers of discord and bluster.
When it comes to gaming fanatics, with a preferential exclusivity to one gaming device, rational thinking just up and disappears like Carol Baskins husband. The sordid “rivalry” between PlayStation and Xbox is extensive as it is stupid. Not to mention beneficial for both parties. Two rival companies, vying for your patronage don’t much care for your allegiance. Unless that loyalty is financially beneficial. So of course this incites the eternal, yet asinine “console war”. A skirmish instigated with as much logic as an M Night Shamalan movie and diologue to match. You have the “Xbots”, recently sentient beings, in a network programmed to antagonise, enhanced by its own belligerence. Then you have the Sony “Pony’s” trotting in like Princess Ann at an Olympic dressage competition. Gesturing with their pipes, stroking their beards and regaling their contemporaries with tales of their exploits in some great, narrative driven single player game. Discussing the deep philosophical significance of a Sony exclusive and how those Xbox acolytes will never play them! Nor the poultry, mediocre games available on PS Plus every month.
Corroboration. Logical reasoning. Civility. All take a back seat when these keyboard warriors instigate the internets most absurd rivalry: one between gaming companies. Which invariably attracts the attention of a far more fiendish and condescending element of the gaming industry: the entitled opinions of elitist PC gamers.
There’s only one thing more banal than the vacuous enmity of a “celebrity bust up” (whatever that means!) and that is the embellished sincerity of “fans” mourning the public annulment of a famous marriage. Or in this instance a presenting double act. In the case of Retro Replays beguiling hosts, acclaimed actors Troy Baker and Nolan North, the apparent dissolution of their resounding partnership is immensely saddening. If you’re unfamiliar with the show, let me summarise. Retro Replay is (was?) a YouTube channel featuring prominent computer game performers Troy Baker (Joel from the Last Of Us) and Nolan North (Uncharted’s Nathan Drake). Together they participate in various irreverent discussions while playing classic, and not so classic games from yesteryear.
The heart of this show had always been Troy and Nolan’s chemistry, as they exchanged humerous anecdotes like 2 best friends meeting up for a drink. We were just lucky enough to be eavesdropping on their absurd ponderings. Evident from their nonsensical banter, effusive interactions and more than a handful of questionable Christopher Walken impersonations, there was a genuine innate kinship between them that you simply cannot manufacture. Differing yet earnest perspectives from friends who have built a friendship around a mutual respect for one another. The same kind of repour you’d expect to see from brothers. But like siblings there’d always be disagreements, which sadly seems to be the reason for Troy’s hasty departure.
During an online Q&A session Troy alluded to the difficulties he’d been having with Nolan. When asked if they were okay, Troy replied with a cryptic admission that they’re not “….but they will be”. And as sad as that statement is, it shouldn’t be surprising. The consistency and rate at which episodes of Retro Replay are propagated is unusually rapid. Having to be around someone for prolonged periods at regular intervals, whether professionally or personally will inevitably cause friction. Familiarity breeds contempt, and no doubt 2 very gifted actors will at some point have opposing views that simply cannot be ratified without some resistance.
With Troy removing himself from what could be a volitile situation, he is taking the necessary precautions to ensure that their friendship endures. And not provoke a media furvour. Both Troy and Nolan are professional, mature adults, with decades of experience between them, that given time will reconcile. I doubt there’s any lasting annomosity between them. And if there is we as a community need to allow them the time and space necessary to resolve whatever differences they have. If they haven’t already.
Did you watch Retro Replay? If so how do you guys feel about Troy leaving the show? Let me know in the comments below. Cheers.
It’s at times of great adversity that we truly get to know an individual. To really recognise what motivates them. Discern what someone is really capable of. Sadly it’s not always for the best. Since the nationwide lockdown was enforced over 3 weeks ago, I and many of my colleagues have continued working in a very “non” essential capacity. Though I’m not at liberty to discuss the particulars of my job, to protect the ignorant, suffice to say I’m in no way a key worker. So as of right now we’re stuck. Confined to a life of subservience to our benevolent and largely absent leader. Presumably confined to the stifling solitude of his grade II listed mansion. A self confessed man of the people. The anointed crusader for the working man. Taking great pride in the continued production of his business while others are failing. As well as openly facilitating the spread of Covid 19, purely for the interests of the company. Not their employees.
This is a company that explicitly encourages it’s staff to maintain a 2m distance and adhere to the hygiene regulations and measures sanctioned by the government to prevent the spread of Covid 19. But at the same time broaden their recruitment policy to keep up with the high level of demand the company is suddenly dealing with, thus increasing the volume of people operating in an environment where social distancing is now impossible to sustain. Sadly it seems their solution is similar to that of other more affluent online distributors: to throw money at the problem! Offering financial incentives for punctuality and consistency. An initiative they have subsequently revoked now that they can simply replace any rebellious permanent staff with temps. But all at the expense of our safety. Unfortunately many consider these precautions as advisory. Suggestions to be considered but not regimently applied and will happily congregate in packs for cigarettes breaks. We’re expected to be productive in a completely inefficient environment. Weaving past congested areas, hoping no inconsiderate buffoon decides to siddle past you in frustration. It’s like Russian roulette, except every chamber in the gun is loaded!
When broached on the subject of volume and the proximity of personal, and just how many of us perceive this to be a callously dangerous option, he scoffed. With the company then having the audacity to insist that the fault lies with us?! Having filtered through hours of CCTV footage to discover fleeting moments when the 2m rule was briefly interrupted. When confronted with the hypothetical scenario of further lock downs caused by some aberration of Covid 19, perhaps a Covid 20 or 21, that could exacerbate the global pandemic our gracious commander replied “I hope so”. No jest. Not a solitary shred of irony nor a glimmer of remorse. He sees this global epidemic as an opportunity. A chance to exploit both his workforce and costumers as well as profit from the ravaging effects of Covid 19, by jacking up the prices of specific products, in some cases DOUBLE that of high street retailers and supermarkets. It’s unconscionable!
We receive the regular “motivational” emails from our illustrious leader, praising our valient efforts and notifying us of just how much has been shipped. As time has gone on the theme of these bulletins has gradually shifted into a more jubilant tone, and are now a constant reminder of his total lack of empathy. His commitment to greed would be commendable if it wasn’t so morally repugnant!
Have you continued working during this crisis? Let me know about your experiences in the comments below. Cheers.
I can honestly say, in all of my 33 years on this planet, that I have never described myself as aghast. Shocked: sure. Astonished: certainly. Disturbed: everytime John Barnes speaks. Shooketh: sometimes to the actual core. But never aghast. Never! Aghast is reserved for some 18th century aristocratic that’s been mistakenly handed a dessert spoon for her soup. But with the indefinite delay of Naughty Dogs much venerated Last Of Us sequel, as well as Sony removing it from the PlayStation store and offering refunds to customers who have a pre-order, its fair to say my aback has certainly been taken and my flabber well and truly gasted!
This shouldn’t necessarily be a surprise considering the current respiratory sabotage being disbursed by Covid 19 at the moment. Not to mention the controversial speculation concerning the studios rampant mistreatment of its staff that may have jeopardised the mental and physical health of their employees. Yet an indefinite delay, a very evasive term for a game that has been in development hell for much of its inception, really puts into perspective the severity of the situation facing the industry. How the decision to postpone such an anticipated project, one presumably in the latter stages of development and so commercially lucrative for Sony will impact other upcoming titles remains to be seen.
Though their will be a relatable contrition from the developers to a situation that must be devasting for them, ultimately it’s the right decision considering the veiled ecological similarities depicted, very loosely reflecting our own public restrictions. But mainly a concession of financial necessity. There are more important things in this world than gaming right now. Not many mind you, but still. Sadly with the continued isolation that is likely to be extended until May here in the UK. The escalating number of unemployed and furloughed individuals growing. No short term solution in place to eradicate Covid 19 and resolve the economical decline, the gaming industry is looking particularly uncertain. Don’t expect this delay to be the exception. This unfortunately won’t be the last of it.
Back when Covid 19 was considered a slight, innocuous complaint, half the world away, I don’t think anyone could have predicted the degree of public hysteria and inept governance we’ve witnessed to try and tackle what is now a potentially devastating epidemic. The kind of administrative improvisations we’ve suffered so far are the kind of reactionary posturing you’d expect to see from an action movie depiction of authority. Invidious decisions enacted by individuals that have continually dismissed the cautious recommendations of some plucky, neurotic, yet unusually attractive scientist, that has preached vigerously about this very specific scenario and implications for the world. I’m surprised the world’s leaders haven’t migrated to some exotic island in the middle of the Mediterranean or Space Station and launched missiles at the major cities around the globe. You know: just to be sure! But its clear from the lunacy aroused by Covid 19 that there are no existing provisions for such a malignant hazard to developed society. No measures to adequately protect the public and no contingencies to preserve the a now faultering economy. And this is going to have irreparable consequences for years to come, across every industry. Including gaming.
Though there’s been no official indication that any significant postponement is expected to happen, its liable that both a PlayStation 5 and Xbox X delay is inevitable. With the increasing economic uncertainty afflicting the global market, rising unemployment and the logistical nightmare of operating an underutilised business with a fluctuating workforce, whilst negotiating the release of such an expensive resource vital to the economical future of both companies, its evident that such important hardware will have to be delayed. Despite Phil Spencer’s cursory insistence that the new Xbox won’t be pushed back, even if individual games are delayed, persevering with a release even with a provisional, late 2020 release would be commercial suicide. With global furloughs, deferrals and redundancies, people are going to be more protective of their money. With most unable to justify a £500 excess before all of this uncertainty, let alone when people’s wages have been reduced or they’re jobs lost.
As rumours persist in regards to pricing, specifications, exclusives, release schedule and the general comparative similarities between the two ecosystems, is any of that really relevant right now? Sadly not. As much as it pains me to say this, especially considering the ailing state of my PS4, the immediate postponement of next gen consoles is a regrettable, yet necessary measure. One that could have salient repercussions for both companies.
What do you guys think? Should next gen consoles be delayed? Let me know in the comments below. Cheers. And stay safe.
The world is on the brink of chaos. Governments have now enforced compliance to remain isolated from friends and family. A necessary contingent sadly, if only to protect the stupid and ignorant from themselves. With the exception of a few limited exemptions, the nation is in full lockdown. Essential businesses will remain open such as supermarkets, postal services and construction? Not to mention opportunistic fart giblets like Mike Ashley that try to convince you that a leisure sportswear store is an essential business. Its honestly confounding just how selfish people can be when others are suffering. I guess some people are compassionately and intellectually malnourished. At a time of great confusion, where hysteria and paranoia have become the prominent vernacular, its difficult not to feel detached when your own world often doesn’t extend past your own family. You can never truly comprehend the severity of a situation, particular one of this magnitude, until it impacts someone you love. Sadly the sobering realisation that this isn’t going away has really hit, as both my daughter and my partner are suspected of contracting the Coronovirus.
They are fine, considering the harshness of their symptoms. My daughter has been suffering with a persistent, aggravating cough that only intensifies at night. Punctuating her sleep with dry, rasping splutters. Conversely my partner has endured a fever, shivering and a sore throat that causes a discernable grimace of pain. But no cough. Being symptomatic of a viral infection, that can’t be conclusively verified as Coronovirus means even fleeting symptoms is enough to impose isolation on our entire household. At time of writing I haven’t developed any symptoms that indicate that I have the virus they’ve caught. Whether I’m just asymptomatic or just plain lucky I couldn’t say, but what I can tell you is contrary to my previous article about my proclivity for purposely self isolating for many years, the reality of enforced segregation from society isn’t nearly as conciliatory.
I’ve been critical of the government’s laboured response to such a virulent disease. Treating Coronovirus as less of a global epidemic and more of an economical inconvenience. Naively trusting the British public to make sensible decisions about how they interact with one another rather than protecting them with enforced restrictions to safeguard the ignorant from their own stupiduty. Instead I’m having to explain to a 3 year old, who turns 4 in just a weeks time, why she can’t visit her friend for a picnic, whilst I console my frustrated partner who just wants to give her mum a hug. We have plenty of supplies such as bread, milk and Jaffa Cakes (the essentials) and plenty of media entertainment to alleviate the monotony. But keeping the human spirit nourished in a time of astonishing distress is becoming an increasingly problematic challenge.
I hope everyone out there is safe and adhering to the rules. This will end. And we will be stronger and hopefully a little wiser too.