By now, if you’re a gamer in tune with game’s media, you’ve probably heard of Waypoint. The gaming subdivision of Vice that is home to Austin Walker, Patrick Klepek, and Danielle Riendeau. Known mostly for their ultra far left political viewpoints that are entwined in almost all of their criticisms of modern gaming, and for their criticisms of actual gamers themselves, Waypoint is often at the forefront of “controversy”.
One such example is when they attacked a small indie game for being ‘transphobic’.
Mad that a transgender character towards the end of The Red Strings Club is deadnamed (the act of calling a trans person by their birth name) they ran a piece in which they openly admit to enjoying the game until that particular moment in question. This article was even Tweeted out with the caption “Don’t dead name. Ever.”
Ignoring that trans people aren’t a collective hive mind and that in context, some don’t care if their older name is known by others, what was especially galling about the article and the Tweet is that the game was in large part worked on by a transgender individual who then had to go on to defend herself and her work.
Waypoint eventually ran a follow up on their original article in which the developer was interviewed, but overall Danielle Riendeau, the writer of both pieces, seemed largely unconvinced at the explanation and she remained obstinate in believing that the game was ‘transphobic’.
It’s important to point out the above because Waypoint by and large puts games under a microscope to pull out whatever controversies they can. From their anger over players shooting looters in The Division, to them claiming that Ghost Recon Wildlands has you shooting nothing but brown folks, Waypoint is often forcing ideas out that go beyond mere nitpicking.
So imagine my surprise the other night when I sat down for my weekly descent into self-loathing where I listen to Waypoint’s podcast and I heard the crew over there discuss gamer entitlement.
During this podcast (Waypoint radio episode 184) Patrick Klepek said two things that stood out.
“Nerd culture is full of entitlement and wish fulfillment and catering”
“Exhibit A. Go see the reaction to the last Jedi as an incredible example of fan entitlement over what they think they deserve and what they should get and what is actually delivered to them.”
Do they not pay attention to the things they say? Because one read through of any of their articles – or the torturous activity that is listening to their podcasts – shows that Waypoint believes they are more entitled than any of the subjects that they typically critique.
Take for example last year while discussing Far Cry 5. In Waypoint podcast episode 68 they began listing off the things they wanted the game to address. From gender, to racism, to even first nation folk. Austin Walker even went so far as to insist that if the game’s narrative is to mean anything that the game should have used race-identifying terms toward players that chose to play as a person of color.
In the over the top series that is Far Cry, Austin Walker wanted black players to be called the N-word. Let me remind you that in the Far Cry 4 you enter Shangri La with a mystical tiger by your side. Realism is hardly the series’ selling point. And none of this even begins to get into the insinuation that he implies by suggesting rural folk are just a bunch of racists.
Their entitlement reached higher peaks in Waypoint Podcast episode 166 while they discussed politics in video games. Austin Walker read a quote from Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot in which he discusses putting political ideas into their games. But instead of foisting political predilection on players, Ubisoft provided the tools to make gamers more aware without telling them what is right or what is wrong. As you can expect, this led to exacerbated sighs by Waypoint as in their view Ubisoft games should be more directly political. But as evidenced by their coverage of Far Cry 5, they don’t want games to be JUST political, they want games that match THEIR politics. A big distinction.
Throughout the same Podcast they discuss the notion of political directness. With Walker saying “Hey, don’t just lift the iconography of a social movement or a political movement, like engage with the issues.” This is then followed by Riendeau calling it “cowardly” and “immature” when games just use “The window dressing without actually taking a stand.” None of which at face value is too appalling or wrong. As people we are allowed our opinions, and some games that tackle political issues do it very poorly. What stands out about this though, and what becomes apparent when one listens to the full podcast, is that their complaints extend far beyond just some opinionated viewpoints. They actively want games to cater just to their worldly views.
Once again Far Cry 5 makes an appearance in the podcast as they critique it for going too far out of its way to actually say something about the political situation in America, but as shown above, what they wanted that game to address is much more than just US politics. They wanted a game that catered solely to their politics.
Circling back around to the topic of entitlement… in Podcast episode 184, Patrick Klepek made a quip regarding a Youtube comment that was read on air about the puddle controversy for the recent Spider-Man game, saying: “These people are just being shitty and entitled and wanting everything their way.”
“Wanting everything their way”? Huh. Well what does that say about their discussion in Waypoint podcast episode 185 while when talking about Shadow of the Tomb Raider they bring up a neat sound option that allows for a more immersive experience. The option, when turned on, changes the dialogue of characters within the world from English to Spanish. However, a qualm the Waypoint crew has is that it doesn’t extend to Lara herself. She will speak to characters in English while they reply to her in Spanish. Admittedly it’s understandable how this could break immersion for some, and it’s one point they rightfully discuss, but where they go off the rails is when they start complaining that the game didn’t record Lara’s dialogue in two languages. Rob Zacny even goes say far as to say “To a T, it fits the sort of like, tried to take a step forward but was unwilling to do the full commitment.” It’s worth mentioning that as he discusses this there is a lot of frustration in his voice. He is legitimately mad at how the studio didn’t commit.
Just mere days after the upload of their gamer entitlement podcast in which they were upset with fans of Spider-Man who were mad at the prospect of a potential graphics downgrade, they now swap places and are the ones complaining. They adamantly believe that the studio should have spent the extra funds and time to record Lara’s voice actor multiple times. Never even considering if the actress even knows a different language.
One must inquire: how is that not peak gamer entitlement?
Let me remind you of this quote: “Go see the reaction to The Last Jedi as an incredible example of fan entitlement over what they think they deserve and what they should get and what is actually delivered to them.”
I wish I could say these examples were just one off instances of Waypoint hypocrisy, but their history of articles and podcasts are rife with entitlement. And at the risk of sounding entitled myself, maybe gamers should start demanding better coverage of the hobby the love.