The cast of The Last of Us Part II on the red carpet!
Relax everyone, it was all acting and they’re actually all good friends!
just some realizations i had this morning :
- mel was so excited about having her baby
- which she never got to have
- abby never got to say goodbye to her friends
- lev didn’t get to give his sister a funeral
- the way I’m so soft and sad over this game
As it should
There wasn’t a lot of good this year. That goes wihout saying. But I thought I’d have a crack at doing a yearly round-up post because I enjoy a challenge.
Suddenly, seemingly out of completely nowhere, this two-year old indie game that no-one had heard of for mobile explodes like an atomic bomb. Everyone is talking about it on Twitch, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. It was a universal game that attracted people of all ages and skill levels which hasn’t been seen since the likes of Wii Sports. The absolute apex of this buzz was New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez streaming the game live on Twitch to nigh-on a million people.
Developers Innersloth woke up from their coffins seemingly like Dracula and the game was alive again. They were announcing updates, console ports and even a sequel. People were making mods, memes and compilations of the game. It was the most viewed category on Twitch by leaps and bounds. An inspiring story really that should get into the veins of all creative people that sometimes things just take time to grow. Patience is part of the process. You never know what might happen.
I don’t think I really valued or appreciated Mixer at the time because Twitch could really use some competition and the likes of UStream and Facebook Gaming is just not going to cut it. There is a lot of reasons why Mixer failed but I’m not a businessman nor is this a business blog. Mixer was taken around the back and shot by Microsoft after being acquired only 4 years earlier by the company when it was still called Beam. They took serious action in 2019 by signing Twitch Galacticos, Ninja and Shroud, to lucrative exclusivity contracts to stream on the platform.
Barely a year later though, Microsoft let slip that they were struggling to manage Mixer and did some kind of deal involving Facebook’s streaming service of all things before shutting Mixer down completely a month later. Folk may have scoffed at the efforts of Mixer but something has to face Twitch head on as a streaming service and not necessarily beat it but, give Bezos something to think about besides his hundred acres of housing development.
Ubisoft probably had one of the worst years in it’s existance as numerous allegations against higher-ups in the company came to foil and placed several executives under scrutiny. Sexual abuse and misconduct as well as accusations of bullying and mistreating staff were aplenty with a side-ordering of racism and misogyny according to some sources. They were specifically targeted at Ubisoft boss Yves Guillemot and his partners and they made an absolute mess of it. A longer story not really suited for a stub in a round-up article frankly and it’s also a story I’m unsure about the legalities of talking about in this manner.
What is disappointing for me personally is that a designer that I look up to has become potentially embroiled in these allegations and, whether or true or not, just leaves me feeling confused and un-nerved - as these incidents do with everyone when a personal hero is tarnished. Michel Ancel, the designer behind Rayman, Beyond Good and Evil and the King Kong game on the PS2 officially retired from game design to focus on his wildlife sanctuary. Afterwards, he was accused of bullying staff who were working on Beyond Good and Evil 2 and generally creating an unpleasant working environment. He has denied these claims but having retired reclusively, it’s unlikely we’ll know the truth about it any time soon.
It’s a tricky one this because a lot of folk were miffed by this but I actually feel like the gambit of gaming conventions needed a short break from the limelight of the convention setting to tone down their approach to marketing a bit because it was getting a bit obscene over the years. Counting Microsoft Xbox lowering a gigantic Ford car into the arena to Sony actually holding their conference in a replica set from The Last of Us Part II, it was just getting a bit much wasn’t it?
I know this is debatable if this is necessarily good for everyone. Journalists and members of the gaming press were fucked over by this and the convention themselves will have lost money and publishers and investors will have felt hard done by. But virtually everyone is losing money this year and I would argue it’s a small sacrifice to pay that the general public missed out on the world premiere of Bugsnax.
It kind of goes without saying. 90% of this was an absolute disaster and I think it would be fair to say that the release destroyed nearly all good faith in this property. CD Projekt RED were up to some absolutely chronic piss-taking here with the endless yellow memo posts on twitter pushing the games release date so far back, it was beginning to give Duke Nukem Forever a run for their money. All the while, they were absolutely grovelling for forgiveness from the social media community and praying that they would trust their judgement in delaying it.
But low and behold, the game released too early and it was so crap that it had to be removed from the PlayStation Store because of its poor port on the previous consoles - a treatment reserved only for Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 and Blacklight: Tango Down. The developers also asked people to refund the game if they didn’t like whilst simultaneously promised the game would be fixed later, adding a unique stick/twist element to gaming consumerism which is at least one thing they innovated. By all accounts from the gaming 1% who own the new consoles that Cyberpunk 2077 is just ‘alright’ and nothing more. Oh well. See you for The Witcher 4.
This is kind of a personal one but Atlus took everyone by surprise by announcing that they would put their crown jewel on the Steam store in the summer. One of the foilables of Persona 4 Golden is that you can only play the game on the Playstation Vita which did exist, yes and despite no-one owning the system, it still did better than Persona 5 The Royal which is kind of embarrassing.
It released with a sound issue that only occured during cutscenes but otherwise it was a big success, racking up 500,000 users before the end of the year. New people got to experience the franchise, streamers didn’t need to use a Playstation TV or an emulator to broadcast which is… something I guess. It’s not a massive deal this one; I just really like the game and I like that people are still interested in it. It makes me happy.
This year, Microsoft did the unthinkable and actually bothered their arse to obtain a profitable license. ZeniMax Media owns Bethesda and its subsidiaries and therfore, all of their games and intellectual properties which is now overseen by Microsoft. This obviously set the internet ablaze with dreams of The Elder Scrolls, Fallout and Doom being exclusive to the new Xbox which was yet to roll out the door at this point. A huge coup for sure however, it didn’t quite work out like that so it got swept under the rug.
It can only be good for both parties though because it’s no secret that Big Beth are short of a few quid and with their recent output, it wouldn’t take a clairvoyant to see that they were fast-tracking their way to a bit of a sticky situation. So they’ve benefitted from the deal and maybe some of their titles could do with being bolstered. Microsoft have benefitted at the very least by having the ball in their court in some respects if they want to do some kind of exclusivity deal. You would have to assume good things could come out of this for the Xbox consumer. That is, if you enjoy Skyrim, Fallout, Doom and Wolfenstein. As someone who doesn’t really care, I say help yourself.
It’s a mixed bag this one, the whole saga. From The Last of Us Part II being discussed and being largely rejected by a lot of people to it actually being announced to mysteriously universal excitement then everyone forgot about it for a long time. Several conventions later, developer(s) infuriated with being crunched took it upon themselves to ruin the entire game by leaking the story and the graphics which made everyone angry and/or laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. Stories came out about the head-cheese Neil Druckmann and his attitude to direction as well as his moral compass, casting aspersions on the progressive trans character in the game. This is before I’ve mentioned the sex scene. HOWEVER, this was all in 2019.
When it released, it was “review-bombed” either by people who were motivated by transphobia or people who thought the plot twist was stupid or maybe both. Either way, it was demonstrously unfair that the game was pre-judged especially seeing that journalists were not even allowed to talk about it. Embarrassing that gamers had to discover the concept of the embargo this way but there you go. This is where this bit ends unfortunately because I’ve never played it and probably never will. What leaves this in the bad column is that never has such a high-profile project been released so shoddily and so messily (aside from the gameplay which I can’t possibly comment on). We’ve had Duke Nukem Forever and Colonial Marines but this is a generation-defining title, supposedly.
Another personal one for me. This intellectual property is one of my favourites ever and it’s not just a game series that I “enjoyed as a kid”. Every so often, I break out the PlayStation 2 and do a playthrough of a Tony Hawk game. Needlessly to say, I hated Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD and any right-minded person would but their most recent effort at remaking Pro Skater 1 and 2 is just great, I cannot get enough of it. Essentially, it’s exactly the same but with all the modern nooks and crannies that come with modern gaming like a party system etc.
I could go on and on about this game and how it’s great. The levels look amazing, the skaters look amazing and the gameplay is the classic familiar style that we’re all used to. Nothing is really tampered with or missing from it apart from it being no longer the early 2000′s so the rough edges of skateboarding culture have rounded to more of a drinks-coaster shape but whatever, I still love the game.
I’ve saved the best for last. This year meant a tonne of free games for one and all - especially if you were a PC user. Xbox Games Pass synced up with PC users so that if you could play all the free games you could do on the Xbox over on your desktop as well which invited the entire PC market to purchase the subscription of a dollar for three months of free games. This is before Epic Games announced that they were doing a free game a month on their store which required no subscription fee and they were all bigguns to boot. The likes of GTA V and Borderlands 3 to name a couple. You could look at it as good will gestures or conglomerate games markets chipping pennies from the profits of game devs for consumer points but it meant that a lot of people had a lot of opportunities to play ground-breaking titles that they had never played before or to discover indie gems like Hollow Knight or Ori and The Blind Forest.
It should be noted that PlayStation’s offering in this space of free games was the Uncharted Collection, a game which has already been made free on PS+ and aside from that, every bastard has played it already. So it wasn’t great if you were a PlayStation 4 user like myself but I can appreciate that a lot of new games were played during this trying time of everyone being off work and with nothing to do. As an aside, streaming has now been more popular than ever this year and a lot of games have had resurgences including the aforementioned Among Us and it could be seen as a nice marketing trick to inject all these PC players with new games to play on stream if they so choose to. Either way you look at it, more games were played in 2020 than ever before and begrudgingly, we have to thank Microsoft and Epic Games for that.
What a chilling conclusion that is.
“Horses are even gayer than Subarus” 💀
Hello once again! I’ve come to let you all know that ch. 6 of ocacg is now out!
If you’re new to this fic, please heed the tags and the warning in the summary.
I’m very excited to be releasing this chapter, and thank you so much for reading!
flower girl 🌸
Just thinking about how Joel is the last thing Sarah ever sees before Joel becomes a shell of himself, and how Ellie is the last thing Joel sees before she becomes a shell of herself and the symmetry of it all and lads I need to go lay down now
i feel like i’ve talked about this a million times and i’d LOVE to talk about it again. simply put: dina had a hard time accepting how into ellie she really was.
i think that for so long, dina and ellie had considered themselves best friends. like, i think that dina thought their relationship was strictly platonic, but over time, she realized she felt this little itty bit of possession over ellie and she felt that her closeness to her wasn’t to be shared. we see this with cat. in ellie’s journal, she writes about how (when cat and ellie were dating), dina would constantly distance herself, and would never go to hang out with both of them together.
truthfully, i really believe that once cat came into the picture, that’s truly when dina realized that feeling of possessiveness she had over her relationship with ellie was not at all platonic like she’d thought.
dina expresses fondness throughout the game for ellie’s interests – music, comic books, space. she finds this endearing and she vocalizes it multiple times. if she found it endearing throughout the course of the game, why the hell wouldn’t she find it endearing years ago when she and ellie were as close as they were? little by little i think this started to grow on dina, until she couldn’t help but feel a deeper connection and warmth for this dorky girl she called her best friend – a warmth i don’t think she even realized was growing at all, or one she refused to see as romantic.
i think it took a long time for dina to figure out that her feelings for ellie were shadowed by her relationship with jesse. i always suspected that it was possible that dina had some guilt for liking women, but then again, she’s expressed confidence and boldness and shamelessness for who she is. i also thought, maybe the pressure of leaving jesse would be too much, or that she was afraid of change. after a lot of thought about it, i still don’t know WHY she was on and off with jesse for so many years – i don’t think we’ll ever know – but here’s what i can conclude.
plain and simple, jesse was dina’s bandaid. i’ve written about this so many times in fics, i’ve made this the center of plot points sometimes, even. she was on and off with jesse for years, and yet, even while with jesse – as implied with ellie’s conversation with joel in the hotel, where she states that they’re together when joel asks about them – dina still finds herself jealous and resentful toward cat for taking something (someone) she felt was hers. and all those years she spent with jesse, she was subconsciously jealous whenever ellie would do the same things as her – such as get into a relationship – because she didn’t want to accept that maybe the way she felt about ellie was one-sided (it never was).
while i believe she definitely loved jesse, i think that there was a lot of romantic tension between dina and ellie that dina chose to ignore and hide away, only to put in the back of her mind until she saw ellie again. but she never realized how deeply her feelings ran until a different girl came into the picture, and it took until both girls were single and there that night of the dance for dina to decide to stop running from the feelings that had been eating at her for years, and finally take what she rightfully thought was hers.
baby got backkkk
i’m late, but i personally think The Last of Us 2 is a solid, gorgeous game. the main character is a queer woman, the antagonist is also a woman, and neither of them are designed for sex appeal. they are both complex in their own ways and sometimes bad things happen because of how they choose to resolve their survivor’s guilt/seek revenge/stay alive. critics loved it but a lot of gamers did not. after reading a few testimonials, i have concluded that Naughty Dog could have saved themselves a lot of grief if they just popped a cishet men do not interact sticker on the cover ✨✨✨
she reminds me of a pumpkin
“Every last one of them.”
Alone with the weight of your sins.
Resolve sharpens her edges.