The Last Night is a post-cyberpunk cinematic platformer

When I wrote about The Last Night, an entrant to the cyberpunk game jam in 2014, I said that “I badly want a whole game set in this universe.” Well, here it is. The Last Night [official site] was revealed via a trailer during last night’s Microsoft E3 conference, and the other things I said about the jam game are true, too: it still looks like pixle art Flashback crossed with Blade Runner.

The trailer doesn’t give a great sense of how it’ll play, but we can make guesses based on what’s shown and based on that original free game. It’ll likely be sidescrolling, it’ll likely involve shooting and taking cover, and it may contain some stealth elements.

Otherwise everything in the trailer is concerned with worldbuilding. I always like rain-slick neon cityscapes, but I like the presence of trees and plants in nearly every shot of the trailer. Even the cityblocks that appear to be built atop enormous futuristic boats seem to have plentiful trees.

What else we know comes from the official site, which has this blurb:

Humans first knew the era of survival. Then they knew the era of work. Now they live in the era of leisure. Machines have surpassed human labour not only in strength, but in precision, intellect, and creativity. Stabilised by universal income, people struggle to find their calling or identity, and define themselves by what they consume, rather than what they create.

The Last Night immerses you in the everyday life of Charlie, a second-class citizen living in a city brimming with augmentation and citizens living a gamified existence — none of which Charlie can experience himself due to a childhood accident. Apathetic and disheartened by the seemingly pointless world around him, Charlie is presented with an opportunity to take matters into his own hands. But at what risk?

Which sounds fine in itself, but causes concern when paired with some old tweets by the game’s creative director Tim Soret. Back in 2014, he tweeted some things which were explicitly pro-GamerGate and anti-feminism. You can decide for yourself whether you’re generally able or willing to separate art from artist – and there is never any obligation to do so if you don’t want to – but in light of those tweets, the game’s references to consumer culture and a “second-class citizen” living among a “gamified existence” take on potential new meaning.

Those tweets naturally resurfaced last night, prompting widespread backlash against the game and its creators. That response prompted a statement from The Last Night’s publishers, Raw Fury:

The comments Tim made in 2014 are certainly surprising and don’t fit the person we know, and we hope that everyone reading this who knows us at Raw Fury on a personal and professional level knows that we wouldn’t tolerate working with someone who portrays the caricature of Tim going around the internet right now.

The wording of his statements toward feminism in 2014 was poor, and his buying into GamerGate as a movement on the notion that it represented gamers against journalists was naive, but in the same year he also cheered the rise of women in gaming. In a similar situation as the one happening now, folks on the IdleThumbs forums found questionable tweets and Tim took it upon himself to address them. What came from that was a dialogue where different viewpoints were considered and debated in a purposeful way.

That thread on the Idle Thumbs forum from 2014 includes more examples of similar tweets and a couple of responses from Tim Soret himself:

I am for a better representation of women in video games. I want more female characters, written to be interesting & less cliché, and I also want more female developers in the industry. We are 6 in our team. These talents came to us since more than a year. Among them and the hundred of emails from people that want to work on our game, no women at all. I have no idea why, so yes I want it to change. As many gamers, I absolutely adored playing Ellie in The Last of Us, or Clementine in Walking Dead, or Ripley in Alien Isolation, and The Boss is my favorite character in all the Metal Gear Solid saga. It proves that video games are not as terrible as I’ve been reading lately. However, I deeply agree that we need more characters like that, and I think gamers, contrary to what is told in medias these days, are really happy to play with such fascinating characters.

There’s a lot more in the linked thread, including criticism of Anita Sarkeesian and a more specific description of his issues with feminist critique of games and gaming culture. It does indeed sound naive. Heck, naive at best.

Aside from Raw Fury’s statement, Soret himself tweeted earlier this morning suggesting that he might have changed at least some of his thinking in the years since writing all of the above. He also says that the game’s setting “does challenge techno-social progress as a whole but [is] certainly not trying to promote regressive ideas.” Which is vague enough that the game could contain anything.

We’ll have to wait and see how The Last Night shapes up. For now it’s just an attractively designed trailer, and up to you to decide whether you care about the game in light of the opinions expressed by its maker.

143 Comments

  1. Da5e says:

    I own records by Infernal War and Peste Noire; buying a game made by someone who doesn’t understand feminism and made some ill-educated attempts at lashing out at it some years ago isn’t going to break my moral bank. Especially when it looks a bit like Flashback.

    • Scripten says:

      As much as the modern GG community (such as it is) is standing behind this guy, it may be a bit harsh to condemn him for his statements years ago when he looks to have done his homework and made progress regarding feminism and actual equality.

      • laiwm says:

        I was giving him the benefit of the doubt, but people are linking some fairly recent tweets of his in the replies to today’s tweet and I’m not sure… He’s nowhere near as bad as Notch, who just seems to become a bigger arsehole with each passing day, but I’m still dubious that the game will turn out be a redpill screed. The style’s really nice though so I’ll wait for reviews to come out before swearing off it for good.

        • Scripten says:

          Well shit, that sucks. I legitimately did want to see at least one instance where someone stopped being a giant toolbag. And now I’ve seen Notch’s twitter from recent times… what the hell happened?

          What a shame…

          • colw00t says:

            Notch has become the surest proof that money doesn’t buy happiness.

          • Chaz says:

            No but it sure sweetens the bitter pill of existence.

      • SaintAn says:

        Shame most people don’t do their research on feminism. They’d see just how bigoted and corrupted it is. The media using it to make money really screwed it up (Jezebel for example has really screwed so much up, including the minds of impressionable young and grown women). At this point the only people that really support women’s rights aren’t really feminists.

        • Mrice says:

          I love this idea you have that only the “true intellectuals” realise that all feminists are really profiteering bigots marching the country in goostep chanting “Heil Clitler!” and how every one would realise this if only they did some research.

          Ignoring this weird assumption that everyone would just agree with you if they did some research, and this idea that the only people who disagree with you are young or impressionable. I would challenge you to look at a definition of feminism (not what you think it is, the definition) and then tell me you disagree with that.

          Because here’s the cheeky little secret, the “feminazis” you hate so much? It’s a straw man, an evil cackling monster created with an agenda to manipulate you. It’s the “commie monster” and the “Asian menace” coming to destroy your way of life.

          And if you aren’t versed enough in this game to recognise propaganda then maybe you shouldn’t be insulting others intelligence in that way

          • Sandro says:

            The problem with feminism is not feminism itself, but some self-entitled feminists. Hell, I consider myself a feminist but I can’t disagree more with a lot of that people. Just look at twitter or other social media and you will see some stupid arguments and ideas they have. And the problem is only aggravated when their ideas are manifested in politics: positive discrimination, elimination of the presumption of innocence, historical review to endorse their ideas, etc. And when you criticize their arguments, they attack you calling you male chauvinist and and trying to silence you, like it is happening with ths game.

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          DelrueOfDetroit says:

          Shame, indeed.

        • clockworkrat says:

          Bless you.

        • Urthman says:

          Hilariously sad for you to tell people to “do their research on feminism” and then admit that you think a *website* (and Jezebel, no less) is a major player in feminism’s broad historical movement to identify, critique, and change the things in society that prevent women from being treated as human beings deserve to be treated.

          • Nest says:

            As long as we all agree that Jezebel is trash, Egalitarians and Feminists are all OK by me.

          • Deviija says:

            Yeah, the blaming of Jezebel as some monolithic entity of influence, the choice brand where all roads of ruined feminism lead to, made me laugh out loud. Come on. The “feminazi boogeywoman” is so tired yet so overwhelmingly feared; it is just sad.

          • pepperfez says:

            Nah, Jezebel’s a better-than-replacement ladymag. They have the occasional very good article and the occasional very bad article, but their baseline of “kinda-personal reaction to pop culture/news” is a totally fine entertainment product.

        • rochrist says:

          Bless your heart!

        • DanMan says:

          Careful, mate. You’re in troubled waters here on RPS.

          • Scripten says:

            Yeah, someone might disagree with you, and that’s practically assault. They might even liken you to people who share your exact same opinions.

    • yorn says:

      Quinn, the human bicycle of indie development, is just pissed that her “games” will never be featured in an E3 presentation watched by hundreds of thousands of people.

  2. colw00t says:

    A cyberpunk game that is not on the side of oppressed underclasses is not cyberpunk.

    • SMGreer says:

      Can’t wait for the start of the CyberQuo genre.

      • Scripten says:

        You’re looking for Post Cyberpunk, which is basically what Cyberpunk turned into after about five years. Gibson is firmly in that camp. (Although it’s arguably still about similar themes, just with less blunt anti-authoritarianism)

        • PointyShinyBurning says:

          Gibson’s latest, The Peripheral, is even more explicitly about marginalised outsiders sticking it to the man than his first couple of trilogies, though?

          • Scripten says:

            Ooh, is it? I only just finished the Bridge trilogy, which was definitely Post Cyberpunk. (Especially when you take into account the ending of Virtual Light.)

            Still, I suppose I should have qualified my original statement as Post Cyberpunk being about oppressed underdogs taking down oppressors without fundamentally rewriting society. Working within societal systems to enact change instead of rebelling for the sake of it. Of course, there’s a lot more nuance, but this IS just a comment section on a gaming website. :-P

      • colw00t says:

        Syndicate was a pretty good CyberQuo game come to think of it

        • Sound says:

          I don’t think Syndicate qualifies. Because in Syndicate, you’re expressly painted as a bad guy. The game & story does not seek to valorize or endorse the world you create or live in, it does not not present the world or yourself as a good thing.

          It’s cyberpunk still, just from a villainous perspective, and lacking the heroic anti-heroes altogether.

    • kraftcheese says:

      Yeah, like the theme of the game is what: “it’s bad to give everyone universal income because…something something work ethic good”?

      Seems like old mate’s missed the themes in both cyberpunk and post-cyberpunk and landed on some nonsensical themes but it does look beautiful, generic “Asian-style” fake letters withstanding.

      • colw00t says:

        cyberpunk means “neon lights”

      • dr.denton says:

        It would rather depend on wether you look at the concept of a (unconditional) basic income from a humanist or capitalist point of view.
        The latter might just lead to this kind of dystopia, as the ruling classes would have absolutely NO reason to care for the wellbeing of their consumers beyond providing enough money to … well, consume.

      • Sandro says:

        Yeah, why listening to what that guy is pretending to say when it is faster and easier to ridiculize his arguments: “Talk to the hand, baby!”

    • Deviija says:

      Yes! Too right. I mean, like others have pointed out, this is a game where apparently everyone getting universal basic income and marginalized people’s social progressivism has ruined society forever and, hey, gotta find somewhere to put Vivian James in.

  3. Andrew says:

    It’s easy to ignore shitheads like that, because there are already ten similar games and at least hundred that are better. So, pass. Kudos for pointing it out, though!

    Also, he is friend with “similar people”, who make Borderless Gaming and Rainway. Unknowingly, I bought former, and was waiting for latter. As Patrick Klepek said, we need Chrome extension to pointing this things out :/

  4. Scripten says:

    As someone who identifies heartily as a feminist and progressive, I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt when it comes to the game’s narrative. Three years is a long time and his twitter has the following in it:

    “In no way is The Last Night a game against feminism or any form of equality. A lot of things changed for me these last years”

    It looks like he got wrapped up in naivety rather than bigotry and has grown up since.

    • Merus says:

      He was tweeting just two months ago about how transgender people are denying scientific ‘reality’, so he either did some learning pretty goddamn quickly, or he’s a liar.

      • Scripten says:

        Yeah… did more research (which is a bit harder since he seems to have deleted some stuff and I’m not a Twitter native) and it looks like the latter is the case.

        Oh well, saving my money on yet another asshole’s soapbox rant against them terribul libruls.

        • baud001 says:

          On the other hand, if you agree with what he’s said in 2014, it’s win-win.

          • Scripten says:

            And if you separate yourself from the rest of society on top of that, it’s a win-win-win. Cheers.

  5. darkath says:

    Sigh, I wish everyone who ever mentioned GG would just tweet “GG was a false controversy based on a false story” so that we can forever be done with it.
    Now to be fair, in one of the tweet mentionned, he explained that he was for egalitarism and not for feminism.
    I guess it simply a case of someone who bought into the false narrative GG created from nothing and has a poor understanding of the feminist movement and goals rather than a terrible person. And geez it was 3 years ago.

    • Sound says:

      I suspect most anti-feminists would claim they’re egalitarians. But that stance still relies on a misreading of feminism, or cherrypicking or strawmanning. And in the end, so many of those ‘egalitarians’ ultimately do harm to an egalitarian endeavor through their misunderstanding(or motivated reasoning).

      This fellow’s tweet doesn’t get him out of hot water.

      As for whether that that should move me to shun his product or not… I’m torn. Because in spite of the above, I know it’s possible to change your mind over time, and to realize when you’ve had something all wrong.

  6. Author X says:

    I’ve already bought (crowdfunded, even) a cool cyberpunk story only to find while playing it that it was about how Feminism Is The Real Enemy, I’m happy to avoid it again (especially when there are more hopeful cyberpunk games like Read Only Memories).

    Sure, it’s possible that someone’s politics won’t leak into a game or that this person’s politics have changed in the last three years, but the premise (“if people didn’t have to work to survive they’d be directionless and lost”) is already political and something I’m uninterested in seeing.

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      DelrueOfDetroit says:

      What game was that, out of curiosity.

    • kraftcheese says:

      Are we talking about Aerannis? Cuz I’ve seen it argued that it’s either anti-feminist in general OR that it’s a criticism of trans-exclusionary politics but supportive of feminism OR that it doesn’t really have anything coherent to say either way.

      I got it on sale without knowing anything at all about it and couldn’t actually start the first mission due to bugs so I can’t give my opinion on it cuz I’ve not seen any of the game!

      • Author X says:

        It was Aerannis, and IIRC the developer also stated it was definitely not anti-feminism, but maybe halfway(?) through the game the only thing resembling feminism was a bunch of straw feminists shouting about safe spaces in a way that didn’t even make sense in the context of the setting. If the only kind of feminism represented is TERFs, and they’re shown using all the 4chan stereotypes of feminists (including their appearance and language), then I would not call it “a criticism of trans-exclusionary politics but supportive of feminism”, no.

        • pepperfez says:

          Wow, that game looks totally bonkers. The protagonist is literally an anti-feminist terrorist, am I reading that right?

  7. Mont says:

    Honestly it doesn’t seem to me like he said anything bad in his tweets?
    He said he identifies himself as an egalitarian, how is that bad?
    I’m not an American so I don’t know if that’s like not a good thing or anything but reading the description of the word on google seems like a positive concept and I don’t really see why that would give anyone “reasons to be nervous about this”?

    • laiwm says:

      Egalitarian is a word used by anti-feminists to sound like they’re fighting *for* a good cause while actually doing nothing but fighting *against* feminism, in my experience. It serves a similar purpose to “All Lives Matter” as opposed to “Black Lives Matter” – the speaker is usually arguing against people trying to work for a positive change by inventing a higher ground they can claim to hold.

      • Mont says:

        But isn’t that kind of thought process just as bad?
        I mean, the anti-feminists you’ve met probably are as such because they base their views on stereotypes. Assuming everyone is an asshole just because you’ve known assholes who’ve used similar words isn’t always a bad thing?

        Again, this may be because I’m from Italy and we have quite a different society from yours, but from what I’ve read in this article there doesn’t appear to be a single reason to doubt the good will of this dude: he hasn’t said anything against females, minorieties or the lgbtq community, and I honestly don’t see any way how there could be ground for any kind of misrapresentetion.

        • wwarnick says:

          I agree. I think he agrees that a woman shouldn’t be seen as less than a man, but it should be okay to be a white male too, or anything else people like to pick on these days.

          • Sound says:

            Feminism does not propose that being white male is bad. Don’t fall for that hype. It’s identifying and troubleshooting problems that are common across human culture, things that can be changed to make a society that is better for all people, white males included. Feminism is on your side, so long as you’re not obstructing the troubleshooting process.

          • wwarnick says:

            @Sound, I know that’s the general aim, and I whole-heartedly agree with it as far as it stays in those lines, but it often doesn’t. That isn’t to say that everyone in the feminist movement feel the same, but many do. For example, Wonder Woman had female-only screenings, but if a movie had male-only screenings, it would be considered sexist. That seems less a move for equality than “a taste of your own medicine.” Again, I know that not all feminists are this way, but then again, not all egalitarians fit the stereotype either.

        • laiwm says:

          The egalitarianism thing isn’t bad itself, it’s just a red flag for me – I almost always see it used by people who also hold shitty views (note that I’m not calling them assholes). I agree that these people oppose feminism because they’ve been exposed to bad faith arguments and/or negative stereotypes, but that doesn’t mean their worldview shouldn’t be argued against. Insisting that feminists need to rebrand their ideology as “egalitarianism” or some other similar word is a way of disrupting feminist activism, whether it’s used as a deliberate tactic or not.

          • Mont says:

            Yeah ok, but when those tweets are coupled with something such as “I am for a better representation of women in video games. I want more female characters, written to be interesting & less cliché, and I also want more female developers in the industry”, shouldn’t that put at bay any kind of fear for the future of this game?

            It still looks to me like the reasons to be nervous for this game are just based on preconception and stereotypes, even from the perspective of a feminist I honestly can’t find a single reason to feel nervous.

          • Andrew says:

            @Mort You playing as white dude in his game. What better representation?

          • laiwm says:

            @Mont coupled with his tweets about the game being set in a world where feminism has won, and railing against “identity politics”, it builds a picture of the game being set in a cyberpunk world where the Big Bad is SJWs instead of the usual greedy capitalists. Like I said further up in the comments, I’ll keep an open mind until the reviews come in, but I’m wary of it for now.

            I don’t often see anyone earnestly say they don’t want to see equal/better representation of women in games and the industry, but there are important differences in approach – as @DelrueOfDetroit argues elsewhere in this thread, the egalitarian way of thinking seems to be “let’s stop talking about the problems and they will go away”. It blames “identity politics” for creating race/gender divisions where none existed before, and tries to stifle people who want to discuss these divisions. I think there’s a lot of value in arguing against these ideas wherever they’re seen.

      • rabidwombat says:

        Very well put.

      • yorn says:

        LOL at your implication that Black Lives Matter is working towards positive change.

    • Silentbob says:

      Puritans need their heretics. Hence the virtue signalling over an innocuous tweet from 2014. By Egalitarian he means treating every individual on merit regardless of their gender.

      • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

        “Treating every individual on merit regardless of gender” is literally the reason feminism exists. It’s already covered. Which leaves us to wonder the real motivations of any men starting a parallel campaign on their own terms.

        • Andrew says:

          “There, there, honey, let me worry about equality. Now, bring me a sandwich.”

        • Silentbob says:

          Then you are gravely mistaken. Third wave feminism of today is the antitheses of egalitarianism.

          Hence why only 9% of British women polled identify as feminists.

          • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

            “Third wave feminism of today is the antitheses of egalitarianism.”

            Nope. Sorry. Feminism is, by definition, a movement for the equality of women. I’m going to guess you hate on “third wave” feminism in particular because it’s generally focused on deepening what is meant by equality, for instance by trying to move past the movement’s historical rooting in mostly middle class white activism – because, in other words, it’s actually focused on being even more inclusive.

            “Hence why only 9% of British women polled identify as feminists.”

            Source? Sample size? Polling method? Polling time? Questions as they were presented? Also, I love how the Lone Intellectuals In The Wilderness who wish the masses could only see through the feminist conspiracy being fed to them by the media are quite happy to uncritically rely on media polling the opinions of the masses when it serves them.

            Anyway, feminism is a movement for equality regardless of whether it’s currently popular or not, just like eclairs are pastries regardless of whether they’re currently selling well.

          • pepperfez says:

            “Third wave feminism of today” — take a shot!

        • yorn says:

          If that’s the reason feminism exists, why does every feminist work so hard to disprove it?

      • Scripten says:

        Isn’t it interesting that the phrase “virtue signalling” has become a virtue signal for MRAs/Red Pillers, Stormfront, and various sections of the various *chans?

        • rabidwombat says:

          I was thinking the exact same thing. I’m glad those people are so easy to identify.

          It’s annoying when they make a bunch of reasonable-sounding comments, and then sneak in a “population control” or “human biodiversity”. It’s like, I was on your side until I saw your endgame.

        • pepperfez says:

          The iron law of the right wing: Every accusation is a confession.

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      DelrueOfDetroit says:

      Egalitarianism essentially assumes that everybody has the same privileges and opportunities as everyone else. Egalitarianism can’t exist in our current culture because certain groups have gotten to where they are on the backs of other groups. Suddenly drawing a line and saying “Alright, this is the point when everyone’s equal.” when oppressed groups have yet to bounce back is not equality, it’s just stating that things are as they should be and we have no responsibility to correct our society’s wrongs.

      • Mont says:

        But that’s not the meaning of the word according to google?

        If you are impliyng that the concept has become distorted then isn’t it the same thing that he was expressing when talking about feminism?

        • Andrew says:

          If your city wants to be more eco friendly, it can lower taxes for businesses that are eco friendly. That’s feminism: promoting people who are not white dudes, for the betterment of everyone. Egalitarianism is saying everyone should pay the same, and status quo will not change.

          • Jerkzilla says:

            That’s not the only definition of egalitarianism, nor is the concept intrinsically tied to a lack of social mobility, which is what should really be addressed. Meanwhile there’s plenty of arguments to be made against affirmative action plans and the real problem is that they’re not all racist and sexist.

          • Andrew says:

            @Jerkzilla Can you ELI5 that?

          • wwarnick says:

            “promoting people who are not white dudes” is only “for the betterment of everyone” as long as “white dudes” aren’t being put down. If it’s brave to be proud to be a woman, but sexist to be proud to be a “white dude”, it’s not equality.

          • Andrew says:

            @wwarnick Oh, boy, “double standard” argument again. In my example, “white dudes” are companies which pollute Earth. Double standards are totally fine and often necessary. Life is full of them. You just whining that some of them are now against you? Welcome to the world of everyone else.

            But, actually, in what way white dudes getting “put down”? How? By making not-sexist games? By making more games with female characters? By promoting female developers and journalists? Are you new to RPS? Those “arguments” were thrown away for a long time here.

          • Jerkzilla says:

            Andrew,

            Egalitarian has multiple definitions, one involves lowering
            general inequality, and the other, more in line with classical liberalism, simply promotes lack of discrimination. I believe you refer to the second one.

            Neither of those definitions automatically imply the poor stay poor and the rich, rich, which is to say, a lack of social mobility. Things that influence social mobility are commonly thought to be tax burden, availability of education and the general state of the economy.

            Brookings Insititue article:
            link to brookings.edu

            UCL paper on social mobility: link to ucl.ac.uk

            WRT to affirmative action, this Atlantic article describes the issue better than I can in a comment section, sorry I can’t break this down right now. I’m not citing it as proof necessarily, but to better describe my view on the issue.
            link to theatlantic.com

          • wwarnick says:

            @Andrew I didn’t realize that “promoting people who are not white dudes” was talking about companies. Anyway, I think promoting women is important. I’m not arguing against that at all. Feminism is doing a lot of great things. I’m just saying that promotion of women isn’t all that’s happening.

    • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

      Maybe he’s changed – some people do – but the thing is that all “men’s rights activists” say they are for “egalitarianism” or something similar; it’s kind of their stock talking point, with the follow-up (sometimes just implied, depending on venue) being that feminism has gone too far and wants women to have more rights than men.

      His game is getting massive attention right now and he needs to say things to keep potential customers, so it’s more than likely he’s just looking for phrasing that can serve as dog-whistles for both sides. Maybe he’s swallowing his pride and keeping GG-supporting customers happy; maybe he’s swallowing his pride and keeping feminist customers happy. Until he explicitly recants his support of GG, I don’t see any reason to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume the former. Everything about his responses posted here parallels the carefully selected statements MRAs give in public all the time because the more clever reptiles have realized the importance of marketing.

      This isn’t about politics, this is about his on-record support of a campaign to cause real suffering. If he wants my money he can denounce that campaign explicitly. And if he’s worried that will alienate people? Not my problem – and also a sign of how much he’s actually changed.

      (And in any case why would I want to play a game written by someone who thinks a cyberpunk dystopia about “out of control progressivism” makes a lick of sense?)

      • yorn says:

        Which “campaign to cause real suffering” are you referring to? The one Quinn orchestrated in the last thirty-six hours against this developer?

    • Flavour Beans says:

      The “egalitarian” argument is used by anti-feminists to imply that the goal of feminism is not equal rights and privileges for women, but to suggest that feminists are arguing that women should be superior and men should be relegated to a lesser role. It’s similar to calling yourself “pro-life” to suggest your opponents are anti-life, or to label a product that never ever had gluten in it as “gluten-free” to cast the idea that competing products do have gluten.

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        DelrueOfDetroit says:

        Sidenote: some products with no gluten advertise as gluten free while others don’t is because you can’t claim to be gluten free when you are made in a facility that also produces gluten products due to cross contamination.

  8. Treners says:

    I’m more than willing to give the guy (and by extension the game) a chance. People can change- I know my beliefs on many things have changed since 2014, I think for the better, so there’s no real reason to hold them against him at this stage.

  9. MikoSquiz says:

    It looks gorgeous and gives me Flashback flashbacks. Promising.

  10. MrBehemoth says:

    This whole conversation is interesting and important… but “pixle”, Graham Smith? “Pixle”?

  11. Premium User Badge

    Captain Narol says:

    I was about to say that 2014 is far away and that maybe there can be prescription, but his more recent tweets ABOUT THIS VERY GAME are quite worrying :

    “I find it interesting to show the danger of extreme progressivism, in the background of the game, the characters, and the story”

    AND (3 mn before)

    “Our game The Last Night will take place in a world where modern feminism won, instead of egalitarianism.”

    IF those tweets are authentic (I just saw screenshots but they can be fake), then it means the game is deeply Anti-feminist by design… WoW !!

    • stonetoes says:

      Yeah, that second one is what really makes me wonder just how tied into anti-feminism the game’s story will be. I actually find the question of “What will a post-work society look-like?” to be interesting and timely, so this is really disappointing.

      Do we know when those tweets are from? The only date I could see is 11 September.

    • pepperfez says:

      I love that in his non-egalitarian dystopia the worst thing is a universal income. Why is the defeat of egalitarianism so terrible? Because then egalitarianism takes over, man.

  12. Laurentius says:

    Oh, I love controversis. At least for a brief moment we can look past these awful E3 trailers and stop pondering what a horrible soulless, generic, derivative and massive cash grabs modern video games are.

  13. TychoCelchuuu says:

    Hey look I make a cameo in the Idle Thumbs forum thread linked in the article! I’m so proud.

  14. Stootachtig says:

    Seems like RPS needs some drama again to make the advertisers happy. Do you have a yearly quota on slandering gamedevelopers who have a slight incline of maybe not being 100% on the feminism boat? That Rimworld piece was awful, and this isn’t much better. The man has very sensible points and keeps to the centre of the debate, why pick on him?

    • Flavour Beans says:

      If you look around online, this is the conversation that people are having about this game. Even beyond sociopolitical motivations, if anyone wants to continue to make the argument that videogames are a valid art form, this is the kind of discussions we need to have. It’s not enough to say “this game has pretty graphics and that game felt like a movie”.

      • pepperfez says:

        I suspect he’s perfectly OK with political discussion of games, as long as it takes place in the non-extremist middle ground bounded on one side by his positions and on the other by positions he agrees with.

    • Scripten says:

      Just like Tynan Sylvester, you for some reason think that pieces that are critical of social statements in games are somehow a form of bullying as opposed to, I don’t know, thoughts about social statements in games with regard to the person writing them. It’s a perfectly valid subject to broach.

      • Stootachtig says:

        It’s a valid subject to discuss, but I feel that in both cases the person is not represented factually. Two quotes are presented, and a link to a forum post. If you read those things, they read very sensible: as I read it: Feminism has some good points, but the extremes such as Sarkeesian are driving it too far and are actually hurting the discussion. The middle ground is being drowned out by both extremes. And this is what happens in this article as well. Saying ‘but he criticized Sarkeesian’ as if it a clear indication of something? I get the “I don’t know know but I don’t trust this fellow he’s probably an anti-feminist!!1!”-vibe. And if you look at his actual forum post, he is clearly neither a diehard anti nor a pure feminist.

        This article could be focused on the broader discussion, like the violence/sexism analogy of him. Or you know, explain what egalitarianism is, how the developer in question explains it, and how this might be applied to game development in general. But this piece is more like: the game is nice but the developer is either naive or an asshole.

        • Unknown says:

          This may be splitting hairs, but Anita Sarkeesian is really not an “extreme” feminist. She’s a liberal academic working in media studies. If you want to see extreme feminism, look up someone like the Mujeres Libres. This isn’t armed revolt we’re talking about.

          • pepperfez says:

            It’s really not splitting hairs; it’s the heart of the issue. Declaring totally mainstream media criticism “extremist” is only useful to people committed to having their extremism treated as the mainstream.

          • yorn says:

            She’s a con artist who thirsty games “journalists” give a pass to because they think some hambeast “feminist” will reward them with sex.

          • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

            I was going to write a detailed reply but it’s beginning to dawn on me, probably much later than it should have, that people who don’t view women as people are actually just incapable of understanding people who do, and have no way to interpret any behaviour that falls outside the scope of treating women as sex objects to be conquered.

            I’m not even mad. I actually feel sorry for you.

        • Scripten says:

          You keep saying “middle ground” as if that’s some sort of meaningful statement here. The guy has, from his tweets and statements about the game, written a story about a progressive dystopia with a bent toward hand wringing over social welfare. That’s not a neutral statement and it’s wholly fair to make judgements (and write about said judgements) in an article.

          The same goes for the piece on Rimworld. While Sylvester’s comments afterwards were significantly more egregious and spoke more to his character than the bias implicit in the code he wrote, it was not an unfair article to begin with.

          The facts as presented were not, in either case, the issue being disputed, only the value judgement made on them, which doesn’t mean that the article was invalid or “bad”, only that you didn’t agree with it. Which sucks I guess, but them’s the breaks.

          • Stootachtig says:

            “progressive dystopia with a bent toward hand wringing over social welfare. ” I’m pro UBI, but this is a danger many people see, and even I wonder about it sometimes. What do you do if you’re neither smart enough for the only jobs left nor satisfied with just consuming media? 99% of the dystopian future games explore either corporate dystopia or a road to utopia where social welfare works. Why not try a different approach?

            What happened here is selectively presenting facts to fit the narrative. “criticizing Sarkeesian” sounds veeeery bad if you’re pro-feminism, even I found it sketchy so I looked up what he said. And he made a completely reasonable point in his criticism. Same for the feminism point, same as him I think the movement has become more and more skewed and extreme. More leaning towards hate and destruction of existing structures in stead of trying to build up those structures for their core group.

            I think you still misunderstand Sylvester. It was an unfair article which attributed meaning to things that do not have meaning in and of itself. Who the fuck dives into the code and starts renaming decompiled abstract code so that this can then be misrepresented as being sexist? If you read his comments on reddit you see what the research background was for his reasons for having different mechanics for sexuality in the game. And that is about the only difference between men and women in the game.

        • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

          “but the extremes such as Sarkeesian”

          Believing women should be portrayed as full human beings = extremes. OK. Got it.

          You lot are clearly the real extremists, opposing tooth and nail, and with obvious growing desperation, the idea that everyone should be allowed full participation in society.

          If that idea makes you uncomfortable, time to think long and hard about why that is, because regardless of your reasons, yes, you are on the side of the baddies.

          • Stootachtig says:

            An example from the man himself: “However, I think Sarkeesian is cherry picking and painting the whole video game culture as something very negative, which, as a gamer since I’m 4 (hello Ecco the Dolphin & Flashback), I can’t accept. Video games have been incredibly diverse to me, playing all kind of animals & characters in all kind of countries & imaginary worlds. I’ve killed 10 times more aliens, nazis, soldiers, and innocent male characters than women in video games. So when I see Sarkeesian saying video game culture is tainted with violence against women, I say no. Video game culture is tainted with violence toward everyone.” In this case, yeah Sarkeesian is a bit extreme in her opinion and I tend to agree with this statement. So, what do you think about the quote above? Do you agree or disagree?

            Wtf are you “lot” on about comparing me to a nazi, and thinking I am against full participation? You seem a lot more hell-bent on eradicating anyone who slightly disagrees with your opinion than me. Why don’t you come down to the middle to actually discuss the subject, in stead of instantly painting me as a desperate fighting person?

          • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

            Anita’s videos make the argument – and I admit they aren’t the most skilled form of the argument, by far – that women are overwhelmingly more often objectified in games than men are. That, in my decades of experience as a gamer, is true. It also tracks with the same tendency in just about every other part of Western culture. Those videos provide dozens and dozens of examples, displayed and analyzed in context, that all but make the argument for her. I disagree with her interpretations of a couple of games, but I can do that without treating her as a bad faith actor or writing off the entire project. The videos are occasionally clumsy but overall are a fairly well-researched and accessible introduction to some methods of feminist critique of pop culture. It is basic, basic stuff that I’m still kind of amazed gets so much hate in this day and age, and, yes, I feel secure assuming anyone who calls it “extremism” can only do so from the vantage of their own actual extremism (even if they don’t think of it as such).

            I’m not saying you’re a Nazi – it’s a beloved comedy sketch, innit? – but since you mention it, joining the GG chorus against Sarkeesian does put you on the same side as literal Nazis, and I won’t apologize for suggesting you think about that.

          • yorn says:

            Sarkeesian is extreme because of the stupid things she says, and the fact that she stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from idiots to make a video series she never finished. HTH

          • Stootachtig says:

            @GunnerMcCaffrey. I am on the side of the nazi’s for not 100% agreeing with Sarkeesian? WTF is wrong with you? Have you even read the quote and my interpretation? Jesus man, relax for a second and think. I am NOT your enemy. I agree with most points of feminism, I am only not opposed to criticism of it, which you seem to be. Look and read that quote again, see what I said about it. Can you agree that painting the whole gamerculture as being negative is a bit extreme and that it is possible to criticize that?

            Anyway, I got better things to do. Keep believing I am a nazi. Now I understand why people voted Trump. If even slight disagreement immediately leads to positing me as an extremist while I’m a centrist/left-wing person I would try to kick the fucking bucket as well.

          • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

            Again: the whole message of Sarkeesian’s project as I understand it can be boiled down to “Female characters should be given the same depth and humanity as male characters,” and you are calling that “extremism.” You insist on calling the most basic, introductory-level mainstream liberal feminism “extremism,” but also say you’re in favour of feminism… even though the whole of feminism exists beyond the point where you’ve said “This far no farther.”

            It would mostly just be kind of weird and funny, except in context it’s also an exact talking point used by literal nazis and fascists in their campaign against Sarkeesian (as a proxy for all feminists).

            Either you want to think that through, or you don’t.

          • Ich Will says:

            Ecco the Dolphin was not in any way shape or form suitable for a 4 year old to play. That game was…. well, creeply disturbing.

  15. mercyRPG says:

    Massively Unimpressive..

  16. Ghostwise says:

    Thanks for the warning, Graham. It’s appreciated.

  17. Premium User Badge

    pegolius says:

    Whatever the background, the trailer looked mighty fine in my book and I really do dig the art style.

  18. Premium User Badge

    Drib says:

    Well the comments are a cluster, aren’t they? Game looks neat, though.

  19. Vegas says:

    It looks pretty though I’m probably not going to play it. Not because I dislike the guy’s political stance (I do), but because this kind of thing doesn’t appeal to me.

    That being said, I am ever-so-slightly interested to see what this guy is talking about. Having been steeped in stuff like The Handmaid’s Tale and Bitch Planet, I’m morbidly curious about what a dystopia looks like to somebody who thinks feminism and political correctness is suffocating free speech or what have you.

    I will probably be disappointed. I could probably make a bingo card out of the ways I’ll be disappointed, including:
    – Dopey caricatures of feminists
    – An “aw shucks” morally infallible protagonist
    – A high-school level of emotional maturity from the characters and story

    Lemme back up a bit: I really think this game will be getting at something important, though maybe not the way people would want. Here’s part of the description: “Stabilised by universal income, people struggle to find their calling or identity, and define themselves by what they consume, rather than what they create. The Last Night immerses you in the everyday life of Charlie, a second-class citizen living in a city brimming with augmentation and citizens living a gamified existence — none of which Charlie can experience himself due to a childhood accident. Apathetic and disheartened by the seemingly pointless world around him, Charlie is presented with an opportunity to take matters into his own hands.”

    There are a couple lenses I choose to read this with: one, it’s about the author, which I don’t think anybody will see as a stretch. The other is that, as William Gibson has said, science fiction is about the present. Clearly our author has some issues that they’re getting out in this game. And honestly, I’d rather see that than twitter rambling or something. If it doesn’t have the truth in it, then people will see it as failed art. However, I do think there could be an aspect of the truth in it.

    In The Handmaid’s Tale, there’s a short passage that provides a sort of key for understanding a big part of that book. It happens quickly and isn’t central to the plot, but it struck me as being incredibly true and really made me respect Margaret Atwood’s insight. This is the passage:

    “The problem wasn’t only with the women, he says. The main problem was with the men. There was nothing for them anymore. Nothing? I say. But they had… There was nothing for them to do, he says. They could make money, I say, a little nastily. Right now I’m not afraid of him. It’s hard to be afraid of a man who is sitting watching you put on hand lotion. This lack of fear is dangerous. It’s not enough, he says. It’s too abstract. I mean there was nothing for them to do with women. What do you mean? I say. What about all the Pornycorners, it was all over the place, they even had it motorized. I’m not talking about sex, he says. That was part of it, the sex was too easy. Anyone could just buy it. There was nothing to work for, nothing to fight for. We have the stats from that time. You know what they were complaining about the most? Inability to feel. Men were turning off on sex, even. They were turning off on marriage. Do they feel now? I say. Yes, he says, looking at me. They do.”

    Mind you Atwood wrote this in the 80s and I think it’s pretty fucking prescient. We do live in a period of time where men are finding that they have to contend with feminism. They can’t opt out of it, for the most part. A lot of men absolutely do not have the tools to do that, their tools being handed down from father to son over generations prior to this major socio-cultural change. As right as it is to call out people on bullshit, abuse, what have you, I don’t think you can blame everybody for simply not being on the same page.

    Our author processes the world a certain way and has chosen to express that through art. That requires at least marginal access to one’s inner world. I respect that a lot more than trolling twitter with an anime avatar, or straight-up harassing people.

    • pepperfez says:

      But he’s also trolling Twitter! The reaction is to his pro-hatemob tweets. I can neither confirm nor deny the anime avatar, though, so you’re right that he deserves some kind of credit there.

      • Vegas says:

        Ah well I haven’t been caught up on that side of it. I’m only reacting to what I’m seeing here. If he’s harassing people that’s no good

    • Sound says:

      The dynamic you’re describing, akin to the Atwood passage, is often linked with a critique of feminism. But this misses the mark.

      The problem is not feminism. Rather, it is unbridled capitalism.

  20. Sunjammer says:

    This controversy is so damn disappointing. In a world full of kneejerking hashtag riders, many of which are the same folks under different names to build a sense of movement, here’s one of them that not only is a visible, real human being, but is willing to put his thoughts into a long-form project that also happens to be very esthetically accomplished. Let’s throw him under a bus for naive shit he said 3 years ago that he has since repudiated or nuanced into individual opinions.

    Thing is, and I’d think this is obvious, you don’t have to entertain an idea to engage with it, and it is totally possible to enjoy art that is personally repugnant to you (Grand Guignol does not call for your empathy), and it is totally possible to even love an artist even if their points of view are repellent to you. Didn’t Anita start most if not all of her videos repeating this?

    So here’s a guy who is not a 140 character egg-avatar howling gendered slurs at people, but someone who is willing to put time and care into a long form what-if commentary (though to me the game seems like it has more to say about esthetics than society), and we are going to lump him in with the rest?

    I’m sorry, I don’t believe in this kind of retroactive guilt by association and equating that idiotic hashtag with the swastika. In 2014 GG was a rats nest of loosely assembled concerns and ideas that mashed up well-meaning naivete with absolute heinous assholedom and made everyone on either side look like a burning effigy of pessimism, and we seriously need to move on.

    You don’t agree with the dude’s what-if premise? Cool. Now decide if you want to experience a world built from that POV (which is what most sci-fi or utopian/dystopian fiction is about) or if you just want to fold your arms and be absolutist about ideas. For me, the audiovisuals are my ticket in, and you know what I’ll do? I’ll make up my own mind as to what the game has to say and how it does so. As should anyone. It’s 20 goddamn 17, we have got to drop this absolutist zero-discourse paradigm and move on.

    • Scripten says:

      If you take a little bit longer to do some research, you’ll find plenty of recent bilge that the guy has been spouting. I frankly don’t have the time nor the inclination to hear what he thinks a “progressive dystopia” looks like, because the fact of the matter is that the premise is flawed from the get-go. He’s not obligated to my time nor my money.

      And if you look above, I *did* give the guy a chance at first glance.

    • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

      You’re kind of leaving out the possibility that people reject certain ideas because they’ve actually spent years engaging with them, find them boring and without merit at best, and are tired of their being trotted out as somehow cutting edge every time a new generation comes along.

      • Sound says:

        Quite right.

        Moreover, many video game enthusiasts enjoy engaging with – you guessed it – NEW VIDEO GAMES. And whatever baggage comes with that game.

        I would not expect broader culture to care about this one game. Why bother? But if you like following the world of vidya games, then it’s entirely reasonable to have Internet Opinions when one of them is overtly political.

        So this “gawd why do you take it so seriously” retort really is a ridiculous double-standard. It’s a hobby, with a cross-section of a meaningful current-events topic. We do the same Internet Opinion-making elsewhere in life, on whatever other topics, so why is it suddenly out of bounds to have an opinion here?

    • Deviija says:

      I’d encourage you — as I would anyone else that is reading through the comments and, perhaps, just basing their arguments or commentary off of the few snips of what RPS posted in their article — to do some legwork and some research into this dude. Not just what he has said in 2014 (and what he’s said while attached to one of the worst coordinated hate campaigns of our modern interweb age) but also what he’s *STILL* saying. Recent things, over the last couple months.

    • Unclepauly says:

      Who gave you the right to think clearly on the matter? Are you breaking away from the team? Are you switching sides? What is this? Should I be offended? Someone tell me what to feel!

    • LagTheKiller says:

      I think u should consider using more POV and using TL;DR. Also whole situation (dude his comments and accusations of internet crusaders) should be erased from memory for crime against sanity and brain overusage (even reading of this nonscence is wasting ur time).

      TL;DR : Dont bother son.

  21. Sin Vega says:

    Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiggh.

    It’s a very pretty, nicely directed, completely useless trailer. Which admittedly is a step up from most, but still.

  22. Unknown says:

    Anti-feminism is its own can of worms, which seems to be tangential to the game itself, but it seems like this game is explicitly operating on the premise that universal basic income will lead to some sort of social decay. I strongly disagree, but that at least seems like an interesting idea to explore in science fiction (wasn’t that part of the plot of WALL-E? that in a post scarcity society humanity just turns into lazy blobs?) Unfortunately I get the feeling that this will end up being a thinly-veiled Objectivist screed that inadvertently argues for the society from “Snow Crash”. Or worse, some sort of neo-primitivism.

  23. Shazbut says:

    Lets not be all He Who Fights Monsters about this.

    The game looks good.

    • Scripten says:

      There’s… kind of a difference between writing a story about how marginalized people having equity in society will ruin everything and saying “Wow, that’s kind of a shitty premise”.

      • pepperfez says:

        Remember how that one nazi got punched that one time? That means criticizing reactionary shits makes you the nazi.
        Post-true alt-fact.

  24. Raoul Duke says:

    What a roller coaster!

    *Watches trailer* THIS LOOKS GREAT

    *Reads first bit of article* Aw, god damn it

    *Keeps reading* Hmm, perhaps there’s hope

    *Reads comments* Aw, god damn it

  25. Unclepauly says:

    What happened to judging a game on the actual GAME. I’m not on either side of anything but I keep hearing people talking about almost a boycott type of thing going on due to a guys views? Talk like that makes me want to f’n prepurchase the damn thing and I never prepurchase SHIT. Maybe even a copy for my friend while I’m at it.

    • Sound says:

      Art and stories are inextricably political. The game has politics, whether you’re interested in them or not. Certainly it’s your right to be un-interested. But for many, the politics are an important factor: Do you want to financially support the work, and thereby the politics? Do you want to assist it’s cultural impact on the world, or not?

      That you have no preference or opinion is okay and good. But that I have a preference is also okay and good.

    • Foosnark says:

      Who cares if the ice cream is made from the blood of oprhans? It tastes great! Whatever happened to judging ice cream by its flavor?

      • Premium User Badge

        Drib says:

        Are you equating some stupid opinions on twitter to mashing up orphans for ice cream? Or implying that the game is literally made of the same stupid opinions and not by a team of people who might not share them? I feel like your rebuttal here makes just this side of zero sense.

    • Scripten says:

      It’s not as if this is a run n’ jump platformer with no story. The guy is making a narrative game with a particular premise which is informed by views that a lot of people find abhorrent.

  26. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    What a shame. And I quite liked the short bit they put out.. how many years ago now?

    Well, there are plenty of other games around with devs I would actually like to support.

  27. famousright says:

    I find that this game looks gorgeous. The style is exactly what I looked for – Neon pixel cyberpunk.

    Can we stop this witch hunting? The guy haven’t said anything that bad. He’s interested in topic and tries to imagine the future, that will probably never happen. Do we need people fearing of creating art? Then we won’t have Lolita, ie.

    We don’t have to agree with deeds of, say, Joker to enjoy the movie.

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