“The Last Of Us II” is at a crucial impasse. The growing annomosity that has swelled between the developer and the “fans” has reached a critical stage, where some kind of mutual armistice seems unlikely. We’re at a point where critical reasoning and objective perspectives are being distorted by an isolated, though vocal contingent that have beset the online community with a profusion of abusive harassments, escalating a situation to what can only be described as a reckoning! The death threats directed towards actress Laura Bailey only deepens the lingering division. Though this behaviour doesn’t accurately reflect the opinions expressed by the majority, it does diminish them. Endorsing this kind of negligent bile simply because of the scripted actions of a fictional character she has portrayed in a computer game, is the equivalent of blaming “Downfalls” Bruno Ganz depiction of Hitler for the deaths of 6 million Jews. And if you think that’s an embellishment, then you probably shouldn’t check out some of the comments fluttering around on Twitter!
The active facilitation of blind hatred has become so repugnant that you truly have to question the mental stability of some of these cretins. Bereft of all rational instinct, these hostile views have only propegated the volitile nature of public discourse further. Constructive analysis of the games faults is something that has alluded much of the criticism in the wider gaming firmament. The censure directed to NaughtyDog and anyone associated with the game is frankly intolerable. Instigated by an obsessive culture that thrives on this kind of hostile behaviour. It is possible to dislike a game without conveying those opinions like J K Rowling degrading trans-advocates. Thoughts are fluid. Instinctive. Harmless. It’s only when we assign words to those thoughts that they become harmful. You have every right to be upset, just think about what you’re writing before you type!
Now I’m not a Druckmann apologist by any means. The controversy surrounding former creative director, and all around literary genius Amy Hennig and her sudden unexplained departure from the company, that may or may not have something to do with Druckmann has tarnished my perception of him. Sifting through his social media only re-enforce’s my judgment about his dubious character. He comes across as insincere. A myopic observation considering I only have random Tweets and unsubstantiated speculation to support my intuition. He seems like the kind of person that filters comments to reflect their own burgeoning narccism. Surrounding himself in a bubble of passive enablers that massage his ego. People that would assert that he was some kind of scholar. A pioneer that will be admired for his bold vision long after we’ve all reached the game over screen. Cultivating the illusion that he is impenetrable to criticism. “You didn’t enjoy the story?”. You’re sexist. “You didn’t like characters skulls being used as a golf ball?”. You’re transphobic. He is defended vehemently for its trailblazing furvour and challenging the established conventions in computer games. Personally I don’t think he is half as good as he hubris tells him he is.
To me there’s nothing worse than an entitled white guy, exerting his privilege and pretending that what they’ve written, however good, is the most important work ever committed to the English language. That killing a key figure from the last game is justified because of the character’s adaptable ethical standards. That he was willing to kill indiscriminately to preserve their own self interest. When really all it does is epitomises the banal concept that people that use violence as a means of resolution are no heroes. Personally I would never have accepted that anyone in this cruel world to be inherently good or evil. There were characters capable of good that were ultimately forced to do unspeakable acts to survive. Understanding of the morality that they are constantly forced to compromise.
Such inflammatory social debates leave little room for compromise. And unfortunately whatever constructive criticism that could be ascertained through an open, composed discussion has been undermined by the irrational resent of those who believe their opinions are right and their destructive words can’t be seen by others. But they can. I’ve always found it curious how people feel emboldened by the partial anonymity afforded by social media. To express themselves in a way that they never would to someone in person. That doing so online is in anyway an acceptable means of expression. That somehow civility is a prison that can only be sated by an outpouring of hate? I truly hope that isn’t true.