GamerGate, Feminism, Cyberpunk: An Interview With 'The Last Night' Designer


#1

At E3, Tim Soret wanted to set the record straight about equality, labor, and the future.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/8x9wyv/gamergate-feminism-cyberpunk-an-interview-with-the-last-night-designer

Cyberpunk, Tim Soret & Last Night: missing the point of a genre, entirely; and everything else really...[image heavy]
#2

This was a really good interview, Rob. After reading it, I do get the impression of Soret being more naive than intentionally malicious, but between him and David Cage I really am getting tired of this “I’m not pushing an agenda, I’m just exploring ideas” manoeuvre. Own your dang values and brace yourself for the possibility that someone might take you to task for them.

Also, seeing stuff like this…

“You cannot create anything new or interesting…”

“In the future, how can you get any advantage?”

“What’s happening is going to be that you’re going to meet some questionable characters who are going to prey on your weaknesses…”

“So the city is going to close down on you. It’s going to be like a trap. You will have less and less freedom over time.”

…makes me realize this is going to be a kind of individualist inferiority complex fantasy that I just know won’t be for me.

It’s too bad. I really like that art style.


#3

I made it about halfway through the transcript and just, nope.

I’m tired of people insisting that I “cling too tightly” to my beliefs or whatever.

“For me it’s also a game about the danger of being too entrenched in your dogma. And I want you to be careful about being so sure about your ideals. Especially in a world that is just incredibly confusing, there is so much noise, it is so hard to filter the truth.”

No thank you.


#4

people focus on his tweets from 2014 but never bring up all of the recent shit he has said. forget the fact that he wasn’t all apologetic about his involvement in gamergate until it became a threat to the sales of his game. or that his writer/producer friend is also a gamergater. there’s no reason to take anything this guy says at face value.


#5

This was a rough read just to get through his ideas about progressivism. That part where he wishes it could all go back to when we were “united” and not having gender/race/etc dividing us just highlights how far removed he is from those struggles. And then implying that’s the cause for Brexit and Trump… I’m glad I missed when the trailer hit so I wasn’t disappointed over his views.


#6

Oh yeah let’s go back to when we were “united” that’s… When was that exactly?


#7

Hard agree here. I’m more empathetic to this approach in the case of somebody like Yoko Taro who refuses to commit to a specific “theme” because a lot of the emotional power of his stories (Nier: Automata mostly) comes more from the audience reaction rather than the quote-unquote “correct” way to interpret his work.

But yeah, when we start veering into the more blatantly political (not to say that something like Nier:A is apolitical, but its themes are largely more philosophical/emotional than hard-political), this kind of apolitical posturing from Soret/Cage is intellectually dishonest and, as you mentioned, indicative of an author slowly realizing that their worldview can’t withstand even a moderate amount of scrutiny. )I had the same issue with Levine and Bioshock: Infinite being so proud of itself for finding the evil of “both sides.”)


#8

I hereby propose “A European View” as the opposite of “The Brooklyn Definition.”


#9

God and. As someone who is European, that entire bit if such bullshit. Passing off willful ignorance of societal problems as if it’s a “cultural difference” can choke. Guess what, leftists exist in Europe too my dude. Guess what France has a serious problem with racism. It’s not a language barrier you’re just an ass.


#10

From the interview he sounds very naive with his views. And the idea of “these groups may be doing things the wrong way” is what he doing as well. He lack experience with the groups and is only look at them from the sidelines. His model of the main character shows that he is trying too hard to make a case against these positive systems.


#11

If like 19 year old me proceeded down an alternate reality timeline I might end up in a position similar to this guy. At least in this interview he sounds more misinformed than malicious. Which isn’t an attempt to let him off the hook or anything, I just find it very interesting. Because some of his more questionable things, like the dogwhistling he’s doing about feminism, almost certainly have been entrenching themselves in his mind for years now.

EDIT: I make the comparison to myself because a sort of story about questioning the reflexive self identification with rebellion we make in stories is something I had on my mind back then but I would have done a terrible job of it and it sounds like he’s in a position where he might still do a terrible job of it. I do think that there’s actually an interesting angle there that I could tell marginally better now and people who have been more actively involved in actual rebellion against the status quo could probably tell well


#12

That was a good interview @Flitcraft.

Some lines that stand out to me.

But it’s not UBI alone, it’s UBI combined with loss of jobs entirely. The fact that you’re not the ultimate form of life on earth anymore. You’re not the center of the universe anymore. We’ve not been created by some god. We are evolved from apes. And the next step is probably: We’re not the most intelligent thing on earth anymore. And this is going to be… a bit worrying, right?

If you take replace “white men” with “you” this makes more sense. I think that more accurately describes the source of his anxiety about the future.

I am myself a white-middle-class-cishet-man so I can’t speak from my own experience, but I suspect most marginalized people hear this message loud and clear every single day.

" It’s more similar to Breaking Bad or a Tarantino movie."

Jesus take the wheel.

I’m trying to say don’t believe everything. Don’t believe me. As a game designer. I’m trying to make you do stuff that is maybe immoral, and I’m going to make you pay afterwards. I want to explore this fine line between morality, and what you believe in.

This can be a perfectly fine approach (I think The Witcher 3 does a good job of making the player pay for their decisions) but it comes off as wildly immature when it proceeds the two quotes I pulled.

Walter White is not a hapless victim who doesn’t understand the consequences of his decisions until it’s too late. He knowingly sows the seeds of he and his family’s destruction for the sake of his wounded ego. He is a white man who feels aggrieved because his white maleness does not automatically afford him the resources and accolades he thinks he deserves.

I haven’t seen all of Tarantino’s movies but I don’t see them as hapless heroes who are swept into a morality that isn’t accessible to them. They are (in the films of his that I have seen as I remember) already a part of the violent cycles that drive the story. So how does that figure into the idea of questioning morality of what the game tells you to do?

This is my first exposure to this story but reading this article I feel like he is not someone who has spent a lot of time grappling with well, his privilege. I’m trying to think of a better word to use there because “privilege” has so much baggage but that’s what’s irritating me about his description of the game.

If he was more cognizant of what the world looked like (again, as I understand from listening to others more marginalized than myself) he might realize that the dystopian future he is describing is already a present reality for, like, 90% of the world.


#13

Yeah, the part of the interview where he says “I grew up in the 90s. And I kind of miss when the social fights were about being united together instead of these endless divisions between gender, races, sex, and everything.” really made me raise an eyebrow, because that’s nearly word-for-word identical to something he tweeted (in French) less than a year ago, in August.

He was arguing with someone on twitter about an “anti-colonial summer camp” in France that was only open to PoC, saying that it was disappointing that his interlocutor had bought into the “oppression and state racism rhetoric”, and followed up with “I miss the 90s when we were all kids mixed together and never thought about colour and religion.”

That says to me that, on this point at least, the awkwardness of the argument isn’t a language barrier thing, and his views haven’t really evolved much since he was saying hateful shit on Twitter, since the language he uses to defend his views has remained the same.


#14

Says the man entrenched in his dogma

The “we” in the interview is actually an acronym for “White Europeans”


#16

The intoxicating denial that post-Cold War there were no longer any ideologies is responsible for so much bullshit.


#17

And I kind of miss when the social fights were about being united together instead of these endless divisions between gender, races, sex, and everything. I loved when we were just… when it was about unification and fighting back together.

This “why can’t we all just get along” version of history has never existed. Civil rights movements have always had to fight for every inch. It kind of undercuts his “I’m all for equality” argument when he complains how the people actually fighting for equality are just too rude about it. Maybe if they were more polite and didn’t make me feel uncomfortable then I’d support them. Get out of here.


#18

Every time he tries to explain himself he comes across as a person who never felt the pressures and harshness that the status quo of the world preserves. He sees questioning the status quo as inciting division instead of bringing to light the realities that face less privileged groups.

I understand the language barrier keeping him from expressing his thoughts exactly how he wants, but really it just reads like ignorance and second-hand explanations, like he hadn’t actually researched anything.


#19

In context it seems he seems to be indeed blaming so called identity politics on the rise of Trump and Brexit, which is disingenuous at best. And talking about going back to some utopia where race and gender don’t matter is easy when you’re not directly impacted by the divisions.


#20

I fully welcome the exploration of the ‘evils’ of each side of the spectrum, and this could’ve been a perfect opportunity to explore the bad side of a communist-like future. But if the creator doesn’t know what he’s talking about… phew this isn’t sounding great… And I like when art leaves the interpretation up to the viewer rather than saying ‘THIS IS BAD.’


#21

Also, geez, it’s pretty rich to explore the potential existential dangers of universal basic income when most people in western society have to work in order to maintain basic food and shelter.

He does repeatedly say that this cyberpunk UBI future doesn’t redistribute wealth, so there’s not as much economic equality as you might think, and that wouldn’t be a bad angle to explore! But instead he keeps going on about existential angst of not being First or the Best or the Strongest and that comes off more as repackaged Objectivism/“Great Man” view of history.