This definitely shouldn’t be bothering me as much as it is and I should just let it go, but I seriously can’t stop thinking about it.
After playing through TLOU 2, I was 110% convinced that it is a masterpiece in every way. I loved the rock solid foundation of TLOU 1 and the downfall of all of it in the sequel. To me, the story went to new lengths I’ve never seen in a video game and made me feel all these different emotions I’ve never felt in any medium. Instant GOTY for me. But then I made the mistake of seeing other people’s reaction to the game, as I normally do with everything. And of course the fan base was split right in half.
I’m not gonna lie, at first I wrote it off as mostly people who didn’t play the game, people hopping on the hate train, or close-minded people with a mix of actual criticisms in there somewhere. But because I generally try to be as open-minded as possible, I forced myself to actually listen to what people hated about it.
Then I fell into this rabbit hole of hate, saying it’s terrible writing, SJW nonsense, misery porn, pretentious, etc etc. And this is a big deal for me, considering it was the first TLOU that made me want to make video games and tell stories in general. I look up to Neil Druckmann as a role model in terms of creative writing and as a director. But now I’m even questioning that due some questionable creative decisions he’s made in the past (ie. wanting to kill Elena, differences with Bruce Straley, etc).
But yet I still find myself loving TLOU 2 with a passion and can’t deny the emotional effect it’s had on me. (Almost) every criticism that people have of this game I can find a valid reason for that decision being made.
Abby’s half of the story, while off putting for me at first, is ABSOLUTELY necessary to the bigger picture. Joel’s death was executed beautifully imo, and the lack of time spent with him in this game makes his death all the more impactful. Fighting Ellie made me feel extremely uncomfortable, but wasn’t that the point? And tbh, this is the first time I’ve seen “SJW” subjects covered with such nuance. Being gay or being trans or being buff isn’t their entire character, it’s just part of who they are. As someone who grew up religious, this game has made me a lot more understanding of the idea, because this character is not a gay person, but a person who is gay, if that makes any sense. But should I have to defend it this much? Do I just have horrible taste?
I loved Batman v. Superman and The Last Jedi. I’m constantly finding myself on the shit end of these polarizing stories, and I still look up to these now considered “shitty” directors (Zack Snyder, Rian Johnson, and I guess now Neil Druckmann). And as someone who is striving towards being a writer and director in the near future, this has been an unexpectedly disheartening experience.
TL:DR, Art is subjective. There will always be people who hate it and people who love it. But as an aspiring writer, is it even worth telling the type of stories you want to tell if all you’re gonna get is hate, insults, and death threats? Does anyone else feel this way?
Btw: 20yo(M), played games since before memories were forming, if that matters to anyone
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