Days Gone is an upcoming third-person survival shooter game that’s set to launch exclusively on PS4 on April 26th, 2019. Like clockwork, Sony Bend, the devs behind the game in question, set up a playable demo for games journalists to try out and somehow the race of the main character and killing Freaker “children” are highlighted as something obscene in the M-rated title.
Notice: I should warn that the following information may be considered spoilers, so do proceed with caution if you plan on picking up Days Gone and going in blind.
For some odd reason, upcoming titles that are reviewed or previewed by major video game outlets seem to veer far from gameplay mechanics, sound effects, HUD options, graphics, and other things regarding the actual game and instead focus on social politics rather than the game’s fun-factor.
Review/preview pieces posted on major video game outlets that take the time to talk about race, gender and other things regarding politics have increased insofar that highlighted gameplay mechanics liked/hated by the writer are often glossed over in a generic way without any in-depth detail to boot why they loved or hated a scene, mechanic, and so on.
A perfect example of the aforesaid comes a recent IGN take on the game, which commenters on said site were quick to point out how absurd the piece is, with the following excerpt:
“Days Gone makes some interesting choices that kept my play session engaging, and the sections of its story that I experienced piqued my interest enough that I was legitimately frustrated that I couldn’t continue playing at the end of the demo. While I’ll admit that I initially rolled my eyes at yet another Gruff White Male Protagonist™ in a grim world – especially one with such a Gruff White Male Protagonist™-ey name as Deacon St. John – I ended up getting far more invested than I’d initially expected. I shouldn’t be surprised, I suppose – this is a first-party Sony title, and Bend is no stranger to writing around well-developed characters and games with a strong narrative focus, either.”
Publication site Kotaku isn’t far off either with Jason Schreier noting on the site’s podcast dubbed “Kotaku Splitscreen” something similar to the IGN piece:
“[…] I’m intrigued to see where the story’s going. And the performances are really good. I like the main character a lot, even though he’s this typical gruff triple-A white dude biker.”
I bet you are thinking, “Well that’s it, right?” To that query, no! Fans interested in Days Gone will find the likely suspects always at the top of Google’s search engine, embedding yet another political instance that could potentially get the attention of higher authorities itching to scream “child exploitation.”
In addition to the above, Website GameRant published a piece titled, “Days Gone Basically Has Child Zombies And Some People Are Mad.” The piece highlights a tweet that website Polygon published about the third-person survival game on how killing Freakers (or Newts as they’re called in-game) “feels weird.” GameRant’s piece also mentions how it’s nothing new for M-rated zombie-like franchises to have players dispatching child-like undead things like in Dead Space 2, Dying Light, or Doom 3.
With that said, the Polygon write-up in question reads:
“Playing survival game Days Gone at a recent preview event, I was struck by a particular class of enemy called a Newt. These zombie-like enemies were once human children. Following a global pandemic, they’ve become dangerous enemies to the player character. Killing them made me feel queasy. Even though these little creatures are vile and scary, I found it difficult to let go of the idea that they had been innocent children.
Newts are smaller and weaker than other enemies in the game. They collect on rooftops and other areas, where they evidently feel safe. They will only attack if they’re sure the player is weakened and vulnerable. They also hide in unexpected places, and will launch surprise attacks.
When they attack, they must be killed — just like the other, larger enemies, known in the game as Freakers. The player uses a variety of weapons, including guns and bludgeons.”
This notion of killing Newts was so disturbing to the Polygon writer that they had to ask Days Gone dev John Garvin about the whole thing to which the latter name offered the following response:
“It’s not about how old they are it’s about how the virus has to affect everybody. It affects everybody in horrible ways. The storyline of the Newts is not gratuitous. It’s connected to the story in a super-important way.”
Even Days Gone game director Jeff Ross chimed in to relay:
“They’re Newts at this point. They’re Freakers. They are animals. They don’t go on the offensive but […] as soon as you let down your guard and you’re not paying attention and you get close enough to them, they’re going to come out of nowhere. So they’re — they’re really sinister, kind of evil.”
It’s sad that developers have to set the record straight for these so-called “games journalist.” Additionally, a recent situation like this happened with Polygon labeling Amazon’s upcoming RPG New World a “Great White Fantasy.” But I guess it’s easier probing developers to change a game politically than it is to write up a detailed report describing what’s good, bad and what needs in improvement gameplay wise.
As noted above, if you are interested in Days Gone, the forthcoming third-person survival shooter is slated to launch late April for PS4.