'Rage 2' Just Makes Us Want to Play 2016's 'Doom' Again


With Austin away, it’s time to whip this long podcast into shape by, uh, spending two hours with Rob, Patrick, and Cado discussing the disappointing Rage 2 and the questionable ethics of spoiling Final Fantasy VII in 2019? Naturally. In the strategy corner, Rob explains his best attempts to destroy an empire in Imperator: Rome, while Cado updates us on why Destiny Is Good Again, and Patrick explains the “charm” of A Plague Tale: Innocence, a game where you use rats to eat your enemies alive. OH. ALSO. DETECTIVE. PIKACHU.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/kzm7qy/rage-2-just-makes-us-want-to-play-2016s-doom-again
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Watch out guys, you might get dragged by a corny, overzealous, marketing account on twitter if you criticize RAGE too much


RAGE 2’s marketing:

plenty of time to drag journalists on twitter

no time at all to mention the fact that you can play the game as a feminine-presenting character if you’d like

(srsly ALL the freaking trailers have featured the dude version of Walker, and the dude version of Walker exclusively. it sucks.)


After Anthem, I absolutely didn’t need another chuckling dudebro, so I’d have easily been more enthused if I knew you could be a girl


Rob is 100% right about Final Fantasy 7 spoilers.


I mean, every video game that comes out just makes me want to play Doom (2016) again, so what else is new.


I also am of the opinion that Rob is 100% correct here.

I am prepared to bet that people who are ok spoiling some fiction but not others are probably biased towards keeping spoilers for works that came out during their lifetime. I’d be curious to see if people who feel that FF7 should be spoiler free are the same ones that played it as kids.

As an example to illustrate:
Films from before I was born that I don’t really consider spoilers:
Citizen Kane, Psycho, Planet of the Apes, Star Wars
Films from when I was younger that I would feel less comfortable spoiling:
Fight Club, The Sixth Sense, The Usual Suspects, Se7en


I have a general thing of just not spoiling things. Agree with Rob that if the only thing a piece of work has going for it is that it has a twist that needs to be kept under wraps, it probably isn’t that great as a whole. Disagree on the thing about people wanting to be a part of the conversation but also wanting an isolated experience being mutually exclusive; I think people want their first read/viewing of something to be as much of their own thoughts as possible, and then go and listen to what other people are saying.

Here’s a funny situation with me and The Sixth Sense: I was too young to go see it in cinemas, but the awards shows that year (or the following year) made references to the twist. So by the time I could see the film, I already knew the twist. Keep in mind that back then the gap between a film’s theatrical release and the home video release was bigger in comparison to today with Blu-rays. Not to mention the gap between that and showing it on TV before streaming services.

I personally wouldn’t spoil things with someone who hasn’t seen the work, no matter how long it has been, whether it is Empire Strikes Back, The Sixth Sense or Terminator. It doesn’t make me annoyed if someone does talk about them openly, though, others can talk/write about whatever they want.

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In defence of spoilers, I think it’s necessary to acknowledge how differently people can approach media.

Up front I’m gonna say, being the burden of being spoiler averse should be mostly on the audience. If you want to avoid spoilers you can only expect so much from others (especially as everyone has a different definition of what information spoils), and it’s ultimately on you to manage that and accept the results when you do get spoiled.

I do often like to go into media as blind as possible. Not because I think it’s necessary but because I think it will generally be additive. I’m not militant but I have a clear preference for going into things without context.

But another aspect for me is how I’m always analysing the media as I go. I’ve been watching Riverdale lately, which is a weird plot soup. As I watch, I’m thinking about the plot threads and how they might develop in the context of the TV narrative. “They can’t have this person be the killer because it’s too obvious, but maybe they did X or Y?”. “If I was writing the show, I’d use that hint as a partial red herring and reveal that secretly this OTHER character was the one in charge.”
I’m always picking it apart. Not as an intentional choice but just as an innate way of hoe I engage with media. One “spoiler” I do know is that supernatural elements come into play later in the show. As I get further in, I’m regularly thinking “is this a sign of that coming?” or “could this resolve by X happening?”. It becomes a strange snag where I can’t not think about the information I know and how it’ll fit into the larger narrative.

In a much weirder example, my first experience watching the Shining was somewhat undermined by the fact that I started realising how often The Simpsons (and other media) had referenced set pieces from it. Instead of watching the Shining, I ended up playing a game of “Ok, so probably coming soon is the ‘here’s johnny’ scene. Oh! And now I recognise this hallway shot of spooky twins.” It’s not what I would’ve even thought of as a spoiler, but my brain was too saturated with pre existing information to be able to just settle into the movie I was watching.

These are very specific to me, but I tend to assume that anyone who’s spoiler averse may have similar reasons. It’s not about preserving purity as much as recognising what will undermine your own attempt to enjoy media.


I’m firmly on the side of rehiding spoilers of FFVII. A few pods ago it was discovered that Natalie hadn’t been spoiled on FFVII and everyone was so on board with that, the idea that someone doesn’t need to know that game anymore.

But now we have a chance to have a whole new generation of gamers to come at this with a fresh face and fresh eyes, and I don’t think that should be thrown away because it is a minor inconvenience. I want to know what the reaction is to the twist twenty years later.


But where’s the line?

Like, they pretty openly talk about some stuff that happens in FF7. What’s sacred here? The “twist” they’re probably talking about isn’t even really a twist and it happens about halfway through the game.

Telling people not to talk about a specific plot point that occurs halfway through a 22 year old game strikes me as a level of spoilerphobia on par with telling people not to post any screenshots in case there’s anyone who doesn’t want to get spoiled on the aesthetics of a game


On the other hand, is it that big of a deal for to spend 1 sentence on a spoiler warning and maybe some time stamps in the show notes? I’m firmly in Cado’s camp on this. This isn’t the same as merely discussing an old game because they’re remaking said old game substantially. 22 years is a long time and there’s going to be a lot of people experiencing FF7 for the first time if the remake is any good, just look at the RE2 remake. When something old is being brought back and deliberately targeted toward people who weren’t even alive when it was released I don’t think a small warning is some unreasonable herculean ask.


I’m sorry, but spoiler walls die at least a year after a work comes out. That’s the end, I won’t have it any longer. If you don’t know the spoiler yet too bad, the work is in the discourse and the conversation is wide open.

Spoilers and spoiler-culture has never traditionally been a fundamental part of literature or narrative. It’s an entirely modern concept that basically only started with mystery novels, and only really began to apply to everything in our lifetimes. Watch old trailers for movies, they basically tell you the whole story. Star Wars toys had spoilers all over the place (and btw, Darth Vader is Luke’s Dad). Any pre-modern audience for any work was generally expected to know what was coming. Sophocles’ audience wasn’t shocked to learn that Oedipus was banging his Mom. Shakespeare’s audience would have known that Romeo and Juliet weren’t going to live. Spoilers are entirely an invention of a capitalist view of media consumption.

We’ve already hit a level of absurdity to spoiler culture where we go into End Game without even knowing what the movie is about. At this point, I’m suspicious of the whole thing. It feels like a marketing ploy where we are obsessively creating our own Mystery Boxes with the obsession to constantly be surprised. Well, turns out the surprise often sucks and wasn’t worth the build-up, see basically any J.J. Abrams movie or the latest season of Game of Thrones. It’s a way to stifle criticism so audiences have no choice but to consume the material, even if that material might turn out to be awful and totally meaningless (Game of Thrones, again).

If FFVII truly is a great work and a true classic, we don’t need to dance around what is making it a classic. If the scene’s only emotional impact comes from the surprise of it, then it wasn’t a very good scene, it wasn’t a very interesting scene and frankly we’ve wasted our time with this game in the first place.


Kind of surprised they didn’t bring up every single other instance of remakes in media on the podcast being remade or otherwise continued and whether or not those should be talked about and spoiled. Like the whole FF7 talk sounded like they were approaching this was a new issue or something never mentioning say, Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Titanic or Star Wars as movies that have had new generations going into something that an older already was well known to.

Also her name will be Aerith no doubt she’s Aerith in every other piece of FF media after the original game.

Also Also Advent Children got talked about this podcast then they went into a bit about what voices they’d give the characters when Advent Children already had an English dub.Cait Sith is scottish/irish in Dirge of Cerberus

Also Also Also Cait Sith is pronounced Kate Shee


Yeah, I totally follow that being spoiled* on something changes how you engage with it yourself. And I certainly won’t go into discussions where people are new to something and happily shout a twist in their face, that’s what assholes do.

But as your examples show it’s impossible to disentangle media from our lives. Powerful scenes will always be talked about, referenced, parodied and endlessly recontextualized. We cannot exist in a fully “unspoiled” state when engaging with old media (arguably we cannot ever be, since we all bring our own contexts and knowledge into play when we watch or play something, so what even is a blank slate?).

The alternative to not spoiling something in any way is to never discuss or reference it in the vaguest terms. I think that’s fundamentally unreasonable.

That’s being a bit too literal. I realize that most players aren’t suggesting that any bit of information is a spoiler. My point is though, that to some extent we (currently) do talk openly about stories, twists and turns since they become part of our cultural bank. It’s more accepted the older the media (few will be angry if we openly discuss the end of Moby Dick) but once it’s out there, can we just put it back in the bag?

Returning to the game in question, can the FF7 remake ever recreate that original moment for new players? In the end, just the discussion about there being a huge thing to spoil changes how it will be received. Not to mention just how much games have changed over the past 20 years, in part due to that scene.

But again, that’s not to say that being spoiled to it won’t change your enjoyment of it. I totally get that and will not throw it in your face if you are engaged with it. And I don’t mind head lines being spoiler tagged until it’s once again deemed old hat.

Finally, getting to a comment that Rob made, there’s definitely a thing for some gamers to want to know everything about a game but stay ignorant of it. To not miss out on the discussion but to ignore the actual discussion. Like people getting sour that new information about an upcoming game is being discussed because it’ll spoil it for them. I understand the feeling but if you are that concerned about spoilers you probably shouldn’t be reading the conversation.

To be clear I don’t think that extreme represents the general public who’s spoiler averse. But I have seen a trend of more and more things being considered spoilers and I don’t think that trend is good for open and thoughtful conversations about media.

*FTR I think the term itself is pretty bad since it implies that the content has been ruined for a viewer, not just altered. Nitpick? Maybe, but the discussion around this is becoming more and more polarized and I think the term invites this framing.


If someone comes up to me and says they’re reading one of my favorite books for the first time, I say nothing. If I’m just having a conversation or mentioning a book from 1988 in passing I may drop some details some would consider spoilers, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to say like. . .the major inciting incident?
I guess it boils down to what you consider a spoiler. I dunno, I knew about FFVII’s thing before I ever even owned a playstation. It just doesn’t feel that important to me, but I know it is to other people.
But honestly, I find discussions of most media that goes out of the way to be spoiler free to be frustrating to consume. There tends to be so much skirting around details as to not be worth engaging with it at all. I like details and specifics. I cannot fully explain why I hate bioshock infinite without spoilers. Saying I dislike the race relation stuff is too shallow. There are specific things that game does that share roots with some historically awful ideologies. But that doesn’t show up until you get to one of the big twists of the game. And so
When it comes to remakes, I think avoiding spoilers kind of verges on being silly. Especially for something as widely discussed as FFVII. If you’re interested in video games enough to really care about the FFVII remake I have a hard time believing that you’ve been able to avoid the thing.
I also haven’t really had to deal with spoilers as a thing to worry about since I stopped being online a lot. Once you remove yourself from being a part of all conversations all the time you really don’t run into spoilers like that. If I download a podcast and I see that they’re talking about a game I want to wait to hear anything about I will just listen to it later. I only opt into discussions on media that I want to be involved in (more or less). I’m not an important person and I don’t need to be on twitter and such for my job so it is really easy to not engage with stuff when I don’t want to. I’m playing through Dragon Quest XI for the first time right now and I literally have no idea what I’m in for because I haven’t heard anyone talk about or read anything about it.

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Hearing Patrick become more excited for Detective Pikachu as Cado details the twists to the weird movie is so cute. Also, it reveals to me an aspect of the movie that has me forgiving some of its short comings and being excited for more: Detective Pikachu is not a story where Pokemon and humans are together. It is a story that takes place in a world where Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow took place, or even where Pokemon: The First Movie has taken place. It entails all the magic, wonder, and anime BS from twenty plus years of adventures and lore on to the fabric of Detective Pikachu’s universe.

Is that a cop-out excuse for some poor Deus ex Machina story moments? Yes. But I can’t help but be giddy that the movie exists in a place where a trainer might have captured god and kept them as a partner / pet.


I’m 100% on board with Patrick’s feelings about the end of FFVII and I wish more writing in general was okay with endings like that.

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Spoiler culture has become weird. To take one of the most recent big examples, there was a major social media campaign to avoid any spoilers for Avengers: Endgame, but before the Russo’s self-imposed deadline was even up, there were new TV spots showing things like Professor Hulk that would’ve been considered a major spoiler just a few days earlier.

So we end up, over time, in a situation where the people who are no longer in danger of being spoiled are deciding what counts as a spoiler to those who haven’t experienced it yet. Which makes sense, in a way, as they are the ones who know which plot points are “important,” but you also end up in a situation where just acknowledging what is or isn’t a spoiler is, itself, a spoiler.

I will say that “if a story is ruined by knowing the twist then it’s not a good story” is, while technically true, reductive bullshit. Even if it’s still good after being spoiled, it’s still a fundamentally different experience and you are deciding for the other person which experience they have. And if the twist is the only thing holding it up, then by spoiling it for someone, you’re removing the one good thing from their experience. What an asshole thing to do!

But, to be honest, for people who don’t have to talk about this stuff on a podcast, it’s really not that hard to avoid spoilers. I avoided them for both Infinity War and The Last Jedi until they came out on home video, and I don’t even really care about spoilers. Obviously I wasn’t going in “pure,” but even things I thought I had been spoiled on, it turned out that without the context of the whole thing, I had been interpreting it wrong. Mute keywords. Don’t click headlines or YouTube vids. Skim past stuff as soon as you think you’re about to be spoiled. You can do it.


I feel my current stance on spoilers is somewhat shaped by trying to convince people that they should really, REALLY play The Missing without being able to say what it’s actually about.