Naughty Dog’s Neil Druckmann has made it known that he’s a male feminist. He kicked a tester out of one session for Uncharted 4 because he felt the tester made sexist remarks about a story element. He also publicly stated that he would add more diversity to his games the more people pushed back against “progressive” themes.
Well, despite being a progressive and adopting male feminist ideology, Druckmann and the rest of Naughty Dog are now coming under fire from the intersectional feminists, the so-called progressives, and the self-appointed social justice warriors of social media after the latest cinematic trailer for The Last of Us Part II aired during the Paris Games Week.
The charge? The trailer depicts too much grim-dark violence against women.
If you missed the trailer before, you can see it below.
A lot of the reactions took place across social media – Twitter, to be more precise. Digital Spy corralled the tweets from individuals most offended by the trailer, shaping a linear story of disgust and disdain from the surfeit of grim-dark violence in an ultra-realistic setting.
First game is already overwhelmingly bleak. Don’t show me a woman’s arms being broken with a hammer & tell me that’s making a better game.
— Axel Boada (@axelboada) October 30, 2017
I love the Last of Us but hey maybe don’t just show women being tortured for your game
— shelpy keezer (@litttlest) October 30, 2017
The new Last of Us trailer is grotesque. Violence against women to stand in for lazy storytelling.
— A.👻Boottridge-Wiese (@lucidiguana) October 30, 2017
That’s just a very tiny sampling of the feedback coming from the social media front.
And it wasn’t just armchair activists working as mercenaries for virtue-signal currency who jumped into the fray… a few major publications joined in as well.
Paste Magazine lamented the days of old before 4K and HD visuals could render lifelike thespians on-screen, and they not-so-subtly take a stance against the commercialization of lifelike violence in video games…
“ There aren’t many videogame moments that are harder to watch, and what makes it even more egregious is that this is basically a commercial for the game. Naughty Dog and Sony think this brutal, uncomfortable violence is a primary selling point.”
Polygon took it a step further, censuring Naughty Dog and Sony for using “extreme violence”, even going as far as to say that games need to stop using extreme violence as a selling point. They also point out that this is harming women due to real-life violence against women, writing…
“The violence is particularly upsetting as it features the assault of women. Violent attacks on women, many times for perfunctory purposes, isn’t new. The Killing Joke saw the Joker torture Barbara Gordon in a statement that reinforced the notion that gender influences violence. The volatile imagery used in the trailer to underline the heinous acts being committed are familiar scenes to us. We’ve seen this play out in other TV shows or movies before, and in real life. 35 percent of women have experienced violence at the hands of another person in their lifetime, according to 2017 report from the United Nations.
“The fact that their antagonist is a woman herself does little to undercut what this trailer is on its most blunt level: an extended sequence of brutal and unexplained violence against women being used to thrill the viewer, and ultimately, sell a video game. “
This is a narrative that was echoed before back in 2013 when a deluge of articles from SJW websites attacked the gaming industry for propagating “rape culture” and for normalizing “rape jokes”. One search leader of the pack was none other than disgraced Birth.Movies.Death editor-in-chief Devin Faraci, who textually chastised Microsoft in an article published on June 10th, 2013 talking about that year’s E3 for being “tasteless” and a “cancer” on the gaming community. Three years later Devin Faraci had to resign after sexual assault allegations surfaced, and then just a year later he had to resign again when more sexual assault allegations surfaced.
Surprisingly, the anti-#GamerGate critic and staunch supporter of militant-feminism, Jessica Conditt from Engadget, did not rail on Naughty Dog for the violence depicted in the trailer.
Even still, the issue was pervasive enough in the social media threads that The Telegraph peppered PlayStation president of SIE Europe, Jim Ryan, about the depiction of violence in The Last of Us: Part II’s trailer. Wisely, Ryan defers to the ratings board and age-appropriate viewing of mature subject matter, saying…
“The Last of Us obviously is a game made by adults to be played by adults. I should never prejudge this but it will probably be rated ’18’, I think it’s fair to say. And there’s that market for those people who like that sort of game. Adults who like that sort of game. And I think we cater for that, and at the other end of the spectrum there was Concrete Genie, which my 8 year old decided was the game she would like to play very much.
“I think a platform holder provides a platform and the people who make games, whether they’re our own studios or third party publishers, they bring the content to the platform. We provide the platform. We have to ensure the right content is played by the right people – of appropriate ages in particular. I thought The Last of Us Part 2 was a great way to end the show and I feel very good about it.”
Neil Druckmann and the rest of Naughty Dog may be darlings within the Social Justice Warrior community for being “progressive”, feminist allies, but they were quick to be thrown to the wolves when a trailer depicting violence against women, and women committing violence, triggered those who feel as if women in video games shouldn’t be subjected to the same kind of violence as men.