RIP, Stan Lee

Growing up in the 90’s, I remember some of my favorite cartoons were the X-Men animated series and the Spider-Man animated series.  The animation may not always have been the best, but they told interesting stories, had compelling characters, and as a kid I thought they were the coolest thing.  I always loved Spider-Man, growing up.  As a comic character, he was a nerdy teenager who gets powers and has to deal with angsty teenage life in addition to superhero life.  That struck a chord with me because I was always an awkward kid myself who didn’t have a lot of friends.

So when I hear that today, at age 95, Stan Lee has passed away, it does actually sadden me.  This man brought some of my favorite childhood characters to life through Marvel comics.  He was a kind man who wanted a world where the best among us fight to help the least, and where prejudice is fought against not by fighting hate with hate, but fighting it with kindness and empathy.  To show we are better than those we fight against.  How lost that sentiment had become on people now.  In a world where everyone is looking to be angry at one-another and where nobody with differing opinions can even talk to the other side, lest they be labeled a traitor to their own.

When I see the stories of the X-Men, and how Professor Xavier knew that humanity is capable of evil, with the arch-nemesis of that being someone who experienced it first-hand, he sought to challenge that with goodness.  To show that people who are different don’t have to be feared just because they are different.  It was analogous to all kinds of prejudice, and as a kid who has been something of a pariah for my atheism among the extended family, it meant a lot to me.

There were all of my favorite characters.  Gambit, Wolverine, Spider-Man, Black Cat, The Punisher, Venom, The Lizard, Magneto, Nightcrawler, this list could go on all day.  All of those names were associated with Stan Lee, even if he wasn’t the one who created them.  He allowed their universes to flourish under his banner, and fostered creativity among those who wrote for him.

Stan Lee was an outgoing man, a kind-hearted person, and I will treasure all the moments where I saw him in some of my favorite Marvel movies.  His cameos were just the best, and Marvel will never be the same without them.  I’m kind of glad I’m tuning out of the MCU after Avengers 4, because this is more proof that, along with losing Kevin Feige as the spear-head, they are going to lose something after it’s done.  It’s kind of cool that in Sony’s new exclusive, Marvel’s Spider-Man, Stan Lee still got his cameo, as the kindly restaurant owner.  That was awesome.  Even the vidya wanted to make sure he got his due.  That was sweet.

Not much more to say.  The world lost one of its brightest stars and kindest people, who truly did believe that everyone could come together and be better than what our nature told us to be.  It’s not the same world that it was yesterday.  Rest in Peace, Stan.  From one true believer to another, let me say –

Excelsior!

Until next time, a quote,

“Love seeing you two together again.  You always were my favorites.” – Stan Lee, Marvel’s Spider-Man

Peace out,

Maverick

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Bad PR 119: Blizzard, Mobile Gaming, and Making Things Worse

You know what I love?  A good dumpster fire.  Not literally, of course.  Those smell bad and aren’t nice to look at, but just watching something beautiful burn in their own hubris is so fucking beautiful to watch.  We’ve seen it happen over and over.  There was the fire every step of the way during the development of Mighty No. 9.  There was the Yooka-Laylee voice acting fiasco.  Don’t even get me started on the beautiful destruction of games journalism during #GamerGate.  Now, we have the saga of Blizzard and their mobile gaming.

For those who didn’t know, all of this started a week or so ago at Blizzcon when they announced a new Diablo game.  Now, this is an event for PC gamers, because that is their core audience.  They hinted at a new Diablo game announcement before this event, but tried to walk that back because some part of them must have realized this could blow up in their face.  If only they had that foresight when they ended the big press conference event by showing off that the new Diablo game was for mobile platforms.  The way the room suddenly went silent was deafening.  Even the announcer could feel it, and you can tell that he was sweating pinballs.

Things got worse at a Q&A panel where one person asked if this whole thing was a “late April Fools Joke” and when asked if there was any way any of this was coming to PC, they got booed when they said no and then subsequently attacking their audience.  But it didn’t stop there!  The company who makes this has already made games that are basically Diablo knock-offs, and people were noticing how this new game looked like a reskin of the old one.  To which Blizzard doubled down on it not only being a good idea and the future of gaming, but not a reskin.

Following this, Activision’s stocks took a nose-dive.  They lost billions in stock value in a day.  Which leads me to today.  Seeming seeing the writing on the wall, and not wanting to lose more money, Blizzard decided to triple-down on mobile gaming being the future by saying that not only are they going mobile with Diablo, but they are going that way with ALL of their IPs.  Everything is gonna be mobile now.  They said that because of this, they have more projects going than ever before and they are going to make a huge profit.  This kind of speak sound kinda funny to you?  Like it isn’t gamers they are talking to?  Yeah, sounded that way for me too.

Because it isn’t gamers they are talking to.  It’s investors.  Activision Blizzard saw the massive decline in their stock and have run to assure investors that everything is great and that this backlash is nothing to be concerned about.  In doing this, they showed that not only are they focusing all their IPs on mobile titles, but they are putting their best talent to work doing this.  Needless to say, the backlash has been deafening.

How a company can be this out of touch with their audience just blows my fucking mind.  It really does.  Any corporate venture knows that investors are great, but if there is no demand for your product, their stocks are worth just as little.  But then, perhaps there is some logic to this.  After all, they are probably right that these products are going to make a shit-ton of money.  Mobile gaming is big, especially over in Asia.  China has become not only a mecca for Hollywood to make money, but also mobile gaming companies, as people will sink hundreds of millions into microtransactions.  This market has mass appeal in Asia.  Which makes the setting for this announcement for more fitting.

So perhaps Blizzard isn’t out of touch with their audience.  They have just written off that if they ignore western audience and focus on eastern, they lose nothing.  Perhaps there was financial calculus being done by the company at how much they could destroy with this dumpster fire and still coming out clean on the other side.  These games will make a fuck-ton of money.  They know that before they even do it.  It will be microtransaction heaven, which will make even more.  In these countries, people will pay.  So what does Blizzard stand to lose?

Still, it is nice to see Blizzard do more of a scorched-earth response to audience backlash than Konami.  I mean wow.  It’s more than a little impressive.  To give your PC audience the finger not once, not twice, but three times!  They could have come out and made a video to assuage their PC gaming community who was made them big.  At a time when they are making new characters for Overwatch while the game is filled with bugs that need fixing desperately, they continually show more and more tone-deafness to their core audience.  It blows my mind.

The PR lesson is this – if you are going to take this kind of tactic with your audience, the consumers who buy your products, you better know for certain that you are going to get a return for your investment in the long run, because not only is customer loyalty a huge part of corporate success, but so is brand recognition.  If people know your company as one thing, and you are selling that thing up the river to be a different thing to pander to a different community, you better know that this is going to work before you get started.  Otherwise, it will be event after event where games journalism (the bane of all gaming) will kiss your ass, while the audience dries up more and more.

Good luck, Blizzard,

Until next time, a quote,

“Forgive me, I don’t know the local custom, but where I come from, when you hear a prayer, you say ‘Amen.’  Because that’s what you just heard – a prayer.” – Lawrence Garfield, Other People’s Money

Peace out,

Maverick

Bad PR 118: Diablo Immortal and Blizzard’s Pathetic Damage Control

How many of you remember the launch of the Xbox One?  I do.  Super Bunnyhop’s video on it was one of the funniest things I had seen in ages. All the features in the console that fans absolutely despise – the always-online DRM, the Kinect camera that you couldn’t disconnect or turn off because that doesn’t sound orwellian at all, and the inability to share used games because of corporate greed.  It made for some FANTASTIC material for Sony to absolutely destroy them with.  Their video on how you share games on the PS4 was comedy gold.  Yeah, that was a PR tire fire, and they haven’t recovered from it to this day.

Gaming companies are big to capitalize on other companies stupidity or greed.  Like when EA said that single-player gaming is dying, and you had companies coming out of the woodwork to ridicule them.  Bethesda really seized the day with that and took them to town.  Not a second goes by that some company doesn’t do something really stupid and their competitors are more than happy to make them look like asshats because of it.

Which makes me wonder what is going to happen to Blizzard now that they are in the crosshairs because of their own stupid decisions and corporate greed.  What do I mean?  I mean the damage control saga of the cinematic trailer for Diablo Immortal.  Easily the most hated game trailer on YouTube, without a single contender.  I don’t think even the Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare trailer got this much hate.  Except, if you see it now, you wouldn’t know just how bad it ACTUALLY is.  There’s a reason why.

Blizzard decided that they were going to take a franchise that had always existed on PC, as a staple of the genre, and turn it into a shitty mobile game, created by an outside company, and guaranteed to be loaded up with microtransactions.  But that wasn’t the end of it.  During the reveal at Blizzcon, they actually had the people on stage attacking the audience for booing them when they said it wasn’t going have a PC version.  No joke, they said “what, do you not have phones?”  Whew.  Suddenly got flashbacks to the video where Microsoft told people who didn’t like the always-online DRM, they could just stick with the previous generation of consoles.

However, the story didn’t end there.  When the trailer for this game became a dumpster fire, as is want to happen, some of the people following this started to notice something.  Comments on the video were disappearing, en masse.  Thousands of them.  Tens of thousands.  But not only that.  Negative ratings on the video were going down.  Not the positive ones, mind you.  Just the negative ones.  But thanks to some people at Social Blade and those doing screen-caps of the video, it was shown that Blizzard was working with YouTube to remove negative feedback on their video.  Wow.

This is PR disaster in a way I haven’t seen before.  Here’s something to keep in mind when you make a product, regardless of what kind of product it is – the fans of your products are the ones who control your sales.  What does that mean?  It means that if you tell fans that you hate them, or deliberately ignore their feedback, your sales will suffer.  That’s the nature of this medium.  Remember the Xbox One rolling back ALL of the features that people didn’t like, because the sales were in the tank?  That’s just one example.  We could talk about the Ghostbusters (2016) fiasco and how Paul Feig attacking the fans of the film was a terrible decision, along with Sony trying their own hand at damage control on the trailer.  Or maybe Rian Johnson attacking Star Wars fans and how that blew up in Disney’s face.

Now we have Blizzard hoping that if they can just make the negative reaction to this video seem not as bad as it otherwise would be, that will help to sell a product that everyone hates.  EVERYONE.  The tone-deafness here is baffling.  How any company can be so blind to their audience is stunning.  You sell video games, Blizzard!  You know how you keep making money in this industry?  By selling video games that your fans want!  If you start selling things that they don’t want, watch how fast the audience dries up.  Ask Bioware how that’s going for them.  This industry has become, in large part, a matter of brand loyalty.  But people don’t seem to get that it’s a fickle creature.  Piss off the fans often or hard enough and that loyalty can be irrevocably destroyed.  And the Internet is too smart for a tactic like this to work.  Everyone saw what you did, Blizzard!  We saw it right in front of our fucking faces!  You can’t fool anyone!

The fact that they are working with Google or YouTube directly to remove negative feedback is especially alarming.  This means that they have corporate help to remove your opinions.  They don’t want to hear it.  They don’t want audiences to hear it.  Did you hear that?  Blizzard, a gaming company who ostensibly sells games, will trash-talk you on stage and then try and get another company to help them not hear the negative things people say.  I’m sure that this isn’t a PR nightmare waiting to happen.

Here’s today’s lesson – brand loyalty is everything.  It’s why Pizza Hut continues to make mediocre pizza, and McDonald’s keeps their doors open, even though their food is just awful.  There is loyalty that people have, and it isn’t going anywhere.  Gaming is even hard about this.  If you want to shit on your fans, you better hope that you can avoid the damage that this brings.  But I don’t think you can.  Otherwise, you wouldn’t be working so hard to damage control!

Until next time, a quote,

“Hurry now!  My muse is a fickle bitch, with a very short attention span!” – Sander Cohen, Bioshock

Peace out,

Maverick

Bad PR 117: Healstream, The Wall Street Journal, and St. Jude’s Money Politics

I don’t know how many of you will remember this, but a long time ago there was a drive that PornHub was doing.  They were taking views from a certain amount of videos in their Big Tit and Small Tit categories and were donating money to a breast cancer charity.  The one they picked was Komen for the Cure.  However, as they discovered, their charity of choice didn’t want their money.  Why?  Because it was smut money.  And as we all know, smut money doesn’t go as far as REAL money in helping find a cure for breast cancer.  That’s just common knowledge!

Well, it seems that St Jude’s Children Research Hospital is looking to add their name to the list of morally bankrupt charities that care more about their image than they do about helping the cause that they are ostensibly supposed to be helping.  You know, because of the name.

The story broke that The Ralph Retort, a personality that I have never had any love for, was doing a stream as a charity drive.  The charity of choice was St Jude’s.  Ralph has a reputation as a horrible alt-right Nazi supporting evil person simply because he hosts alt-right debates on his channel as part of what Mister Metokur called “Internet Bloodsports.”  However, Ralph decided that instead of doing his usual Killstream, he would do the “Healstream,” where he would raise money to help St Jude’s.  But as is want to be in these instances, things got complicated.

A reporter from The Wall Street Journal wanted to do an article on it.  Not from a fair-minded position, of course.  As was found out when the article dropped.  It was a hit-piece.  Talking about EVIL alt-righters trying to make money for a good cause.  A lot of things happened when that article dropped, and the timing is WAY too suspicious to not look at it and think – hm, that’s interesting.

One of the things that happened is St Jude’s sent the money back.  You know, the money that was supposed to help research for children.  Money that could have helped find a cure for cancer in children.  That money.  They sent it right back to The Ralph Retort.  The timing of this is too convenient to not notice, and it becomes incredibly clear why they sent the money back – because they don’t see alt-right money as equal to other people’s money.  And here’s where I am pissed off.

Do we live in a world now where charities that are ostensibly supposed to be able helping people now have a fucking political agenda?  Is that the world we live in?  I ask because if so – fuck St Jude’s.  No joke, fuck them.  This is disgusting.  This is morally reprehensible.  You are making your organization have politics attached to whose money you take!  Do you not see how disgusting that is?  Is it just eluding you?

I contend that if you are a charity, you lose the right to make such judgment calls.  For real, I do.  Because if the goal of your organization is to help children with cancer find a cure for said cancer, then you have no fucking right to say “nah, we don’t want your money.  It’s attached to politics we don’t like.”  If that’s the case, then you need to update the name of your charity.  The St Jude’s Socially Acceptable Children Research Hospital.  Wouldn’t want anyone to get confused, after all.  They might start thinking that you care about kids or something.  But nope.  You care that you can virtue signal that you didn’t take alt-right money.  That’s all that matters to you.  You fucking reprehensible pieces of shit.  You spineless, gutless, pusillanimous, yellow-bellied, cowardly toads!

Any organization that wants to help people should lose the right to discriminate on who they take money from.  After all, as evil as the bitch was, Mother Teresa sure didn’t.  She took money from leaders who were engaged in genocide of their own people.  A modern saint took evil money!  So why can’t you take money from someone who you view as politically opposed to yourself?!

But Lucien, this could affect their image!

It’s affecting their image now!  Now we can see them for what they are!  And are you telling me that it’s better to have an organization care more about how they are perceived than about the cause they are supposed to represent?!  Am I reading that right?  Is that the take-away from this?

More and more, we are seeing things like this.  There was Komen for the Cure, the charity who rejected the GamerGate money, and now St Jude’s.  I’m sure that the children who are lying sick and dying from cancer are going to be so glad that this charity who is supposed to help didn’t take the money of those EVIL alt-righters.  I’m sure they are just so happy.  Amoral, self-minded scumbags.

The PR lesson is this – if you are going to be a charity that claims to stand for something and wants to get donations for that cause, don’t push people’s money away because your politics disagrees with them.  That makes it look like you value the politics more than the cause itself, which would make people wonder if you are willing to look into the eyes of the very children who you claim to want to help and hope that they are on your side when you tell them why you did this.  After all, it’s not like they are dying of some horrible illness or something, right?

Let me put their charity another way – St Jude’s Kills Children.

Until next time, a quote,

“I mean, are you really gonna turn down my money on the basis of this ideological disagreement?  Apparently the answer is yes.” – TJ Kirk, Save the Boobs (From the Boobs)

Peace out,

Maverick

Top 10 Questions About Cyberpunk 2077

I know that I wrote in a post that people shouldn’t get aboard the hype train too much because that’s where insane crunch like the 100 hour work weeks at Rockstar comes from, but I can’t help it!  This game has me on the line, and every piece of news that comes out is magic to me.  I’ve watched the 48 minute gameplay demo 1000 times by now.  I hang on every detail.  I could go on about it for days.  But there are a few things that really catch my eye.  Things that I cannot get out of my head.  Now, I know that I’m some rando WordPress blogger who once aspired to legit journalism, so the chances of getting these answered if virtually nil, but I’m gonna put them out there and see what, if anything, comes back.  Here are my top 10 questions about Cyberpunk 2077.

10. How is shopping with street vendors gonna work?
I couldn’t help but notice all the vendors in this game.  There was a pizza place, a guy selling defective equipment, but there is one in-particular that caught my eye – the dude selling vinyl albums.  Can I buy from that dude?!  How about pizza dude?  How much of the vendor culture am I gonna be able to interact with?  There was a bit where a dude is trying to sell you a camera, and you had the ability to say yes.  Does that mean that all sorts of people selling all sorts of stuff is gonna be open to the player?  Oh, and speaking of the vinyl…

9. Are you gonna be able to have a playlist at home?
Assuming that you can buy some of those vinyl albums, can you make your own music setup at home?  How many kinds of music will be represented?  I wanna make my character a pretentious net-runner, so some electronic or spin on classical would be rad.  Thinking Deadmau5 would go well in this universe, or some ATTLAS for the quieter moments.  Their style seems absolutely perfect for the kind of game that this is.

8. How much of the character’s back-story are you gonna be able to make?
During the intro to the gameplay demo, you saw that there is a personal history section.  In the pen-and-paper RPG days, you could fill in the backstory.  So my question is, since you have made very clear that you are keeping it as loyal to that old-school system and mythos as you can, how much can I put in?  I mean, the options probably have to be limited, since otherwise you’d have games crashing under their own complication, but I want to know.  And while we’re on the topic of the mythos…

7. Will there be an in-game codex for the lore?
I REALLY wanna be able to learn about the history of this game.  One of my favorite things in the Mass Effect games (at least the first three good ones) was the codex.  Anytime I wanted to learn something new about the world, the aliens, the tech, I could look at the codex and study.  Hell, everyone’s favorite part of the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC was reading the random entries about all the characters.  Will I have such a thing in the game itself?  I saw that we have a computer.  Will it be there?  Oh, which is a nice segway to…

6. When will we get to see the computer?
Given the HUD and how stuff all seems to be there, I’m curious how the computer is going to be integrated into the game.  On the touch-screen gizmo on your window, you could check your messages there.  How is this going to work?  Cyberpunk email sounds kinda fun.  Not to mention, give me a place I can go and pour over the codex while listening to my music and you have me all over your game.  No joke, I will learn everything there is to know.

5. How will relationships work in this game?
I saw in the trailer that V wakes up with a rando dude.  Way too much facial hair for my liking, but whatever floats her boat.  I notice that you didn’t seem to set up taking the dude to bed?  Since I am probably gonna have a bi character (true to myself), am I gonna have some sort of way of interacting when I want them to come over for a booty call?  Not to mention, is the game gonna choose for me as this seemed to when that happens, and with whom?  You’ve said that interactions with the people are gonna be broad, but in terms of this, I am looking for some specifics.

4. For those who wanna play quiet, what will the options be?
As previously stated, I wanna be a net-runner, and would prefer to have a play style where I can talk my way out.  Don’t get me wrong, violence is fun, and getting to have crazy weapons to do so sounds great.  In another play-through, I probably will have a character who is all about shooting everything until it’s dead.  But starting out, I wanna be able to play the clever character with tech being my first line of defense.  With that in mind, I am curious to see what the play styles will be and what kinds of upgrades I can do in order to play that way.

3. Is there gonna be some kind of system to keep track of the player’s relationship to the various factions?
You’ve talked about how what you do is going to leave a mark in the various factions of the game.  That’s great!  I loves it.  Get me some Fallout: New Vegas action going on in manipulating allegiances.  But I am curious to know if there will be a system of some kind to keep track of where I stand with various elements of the city, if at all.  Like those creepy Maelstrom gangers and the Corpo pieces of shit that I will be undercutting.  My net-running is gonna be used against them in a big way.  I love the idea that what I do will change the way the world interacts with me, but it would be nice to have some sort of way of knowing where I stand with X group before I have a mission where I have to interact with them.

2. How is the katana gonna work?!
I couldn’t help but notice that when you go into the armory in the game, one of the slots that is available is for a goddamn katana!  Wants!  But that got me to thinking – since this is a first-person game, how is it going to work with that?  Genuinely curious.  First-person blade weapons has been a HUGE area of hit-or-miss throughout the years.  I’m more than a little curious what your take is going to be.  Not to mention, can we upgrade the blade?  Make it all electric like Raiden’s from Metal Gear Rising?  Since I wanna be a net-runner, with a focus on being quiet and stealthy, big guns don’t do much for me.  But this caught my eye.

1. When am I gonna be able to download that song by Johnny Silverhand?!
Please, for the love of Groj, tell me that some of the music in this game is coming to iTunes.  It would genuinely disappoint me if it wasn’t.  That song featured in the trailer is part of the reason I am hooked.  I wanna let my inner punk go nuts to that!  I get the feeling that Johnny Silverhand might be my “Personal Hero” character, though Blackhand is in the running.  I know who those characters represented are.  I’ve been doing my research on the source material.  So yeah, when can I get my hands on that song?!

So yeah, those are my questions.  Gonna send these over to CD Projekt RED and Cyberpunk 2077‘s Twitter pages and see if I can get a response.  Not holding my breath, but you never know.  I got Focus Home Interactive to respond to me with my First Take on their new game, A Plague Tale: Innocence.  So maybe I can with these guys too.  I’m a firm believer in the rumor that the game is coming out in 2019, with all they’ve said about making sure it’s optimized with current consoles, it would have to.  2020 is gonna be the beginning of a new generation.  What are your questions?  Let me know in the comments.  If I can get a response from them, I will definitely keep you posted.

Until next time, a quote,

“Got the chrome in the bloodstream
Got a hot red metal soul,
I’m out looking for action,
Guess I’m on a roll.” – Johnny Silverhand, Cyberpunk 2077

Peace out,

Maverick

The Death of Apu: A Symbol of What’s to Come

I’ve long held a contention about all the bitching that SJWs do about films and characters and plots that they don’t like.  When there was that RIDICULOUS video about the “Dead Lesbian Syndrome,” I called it right then and there.  But now we are getting to see this in real time.  I hate being right as often as I am.  I really do.  Alas, the world lives down to my expectations, not up to them.

For those who are unaware, following all the STUPID controversy about how the character of Apu in The Simpsons is racist, and the show-runners seeming to stand their ground for a time, now they have decided to just unceremoniously ax him from the series.  Why?  Because he’s racist or some other stupid thing.  The fact that over the years he is an interesting character with an arc and a family and lots of layers?  Fuck that!  He’s racist because he has an exaggerated accent.  That’s all it takes.

Once-again, never mind that nobody is bitching about what they should be bitching about – that the series hasn’t been funny for the last 20 years and it is high time that they took it out back like Old Yeller and put it down in a humane way (with a loaded gun and a bullet through the head).  No, this series will keep being made until there isn’t even a husk of an audience left.  Actually, scratch that.  I know how the series will end – with one of the main voice actors who does a dozen characters dying and them just unceremoniously canceling it.  That’s how I bet you a hay-penny it will end.  But I digress.

What people are failing to understand is that what is happening to Apu is a symbol of what is to come.  A symbol of what this outrage culture really is going to result in.  Can you guess what it is?  For those of you who said “that Hollywood is just going to stop having these characters in stuff anymore”, congratulations!  You’re right!  Because they won’t want to deal with the endless sea of bullshit that comes with have a different character.  What’s that?  This other ethnicity has one thing that we don’t like?!  Huge controversy!  Massive outrage!  Fuck the series!  What’s this?  You killed off someone who is part of a group that I identify with?!  Boycott!  Endless boycott!  None of our very small but very vocal group is going to watch your stuff again!

Hollywood only cares about making money.  That’s it.  Nothing else matters.  For those of you social justice idiots who actually believe that these people are on your side, it’s high time that you really examined that point of view and realize how stupid it is.  And make no mistake – once the culture at large is finally fed up with this and realized how homogenized and safe everything is and starts tuning out, they will turn on you faster than you can say “but, my outrage!”

We live in interesting times.  One of the creators at Rockstar said that they are glad that they aren’t releasing GTA VI in today’s social climate.  Can you imagine the backlash?  It’s a virtual guarantee that regardless of what side of the equation they pissed off, they would be getting death threats and all sorts of things, all because they made a crowd mad.  I mean, if they were to satirize this climate, the shit-spinning that the social justice retards would do is out of control.

The other day, The Young Turks decided to vilify gamers yet-again with some crazy bitch on their pop culture show when they were talking about the stories coming out about the insane hours at Rockstar.  They had this guest who made it out to be that not only is Rockstar racist, but that gamers are racist and won’t play games with black people in them.  It was insane.  More proof of how their show has gone to shit.  Ah, for the days when The Young Turks was actually interesting.  Do you remember them?  It seems like a weird golden age ago.  Back when you could say things that people found offensive and people didn’t try to deplatform and destroy you for it.  Magical.

The moral of the story is – Apu is not just a character being kicked off a show that should have run its course after the 10th season.  He’s a referendum to what Hollywood will do when they feel the social justice wagons circling.  They are going to ditch these characters.  Because you can NEVER please these people!  It doesn’t matter how much you try and make the characters non-offensive, you are going to offend somebody.  And once you do, it’s not worth the endless news cycle vilifying you and your program.  Better to just cut your loses and deal with it.  But they won’t learn that.  To them, it’s just “this character is racist!  Change it, shitlords!”

Nobody is saying what I and many others have been saying for years now – this series is dead!  Let it die in peace!

Until next time, a quote,

“The guy who watched The Simpsons back in 1994, and won’t admit the damn thing isn’t funny anymore.” – Stewie Griffin, Family Guy

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Unpopular Opinion: Gaming Culture Needs to Change, for the Devs’ Sake

I’m sure you all read the stories that came out about how Rockstar has been working their staff to verifiably insane degrees.  100 hour work weeks is ridiculous.  A 60 hour work week is already bananas, but now add another full work week to that.  No rational person can handle that.  But the worst part is that this is nothing new.  Horror stories coming out of EA are old news by this point.  Same with Ubisoft.  In fact, it is a known fact within the gaming industry that there are very few companies that don’t engage in this sort of behavior.  It’s a tragedy, really.  And it’s because of this that I think there needs to be some changes

It bugs me when I see in the comments on these articles that devs shouldn’t complain.  After all, they make big money, right?  So what if they are a little inconvenienced?  The rationale of people who have never had that level of crunch before.  I used to work retail.  At Target.  The management there was shit, so at the end of EVERY SINGLE DAY, we were out late.  Why?  Because we would have to work overtime in order to get all the shit that needed to be finished done.  All because management didn’t know how to handle people.  It sucked the life out of us when each and every night we are getting out almost an hour late.  It’s long about midnight when we are heading home.  Now I imagine that feeling, seven days a week, where you work 16 hour days.  No sane person can live that way.

But why does gaming culture need to change?  What did we do?  I mean, isn’t this a thing where the people involved need to unionize or the government needs to have stricter regulations?  Sure, those things do need to happen.  However, there is a deeper cause that people aren’t seeming to see.  It is a problem that goes beyond the gamers who are part of it.  There is a corporate problem.  So don’t think I’m pointing the fingers at gamers specifically.  The entire industry needs a shift, and soon.

This problem comes from the hype cycle.  The yearly release cycle.  Gamers get so rabid for new released.  I’m guilty of this as well.  I have been hanging on every piece of news that comes out about Cyberpunk 2077.  I am one of the people who believes the theory going around that the game is going to be released in 2019.  Especially since the devs say they have worked overtime to optimize the game to current consoles.  They have made very clear that as amazing as that gameplay trailer looked, it did so on tech that current consoles can handle.  It was a huge news story where they said they aren’t shooting for a next-gen release.  That and some of the bits about leaked info, I am reasonably certain.

That being said, if Cyberpunk 2077 did come out in 2020, as much as that would be a bit of a bummer for me, I’d be okay with it.  If it means that the devs could have a working life that doesn’t push them to these extremes, I would be perfectly fine with it.  In fact, when I get news that a game I want is being pushed back, that generally makes me happy, because it means the devs are doing their best to make sure everything is done well and it is the best it can be.

A sentiment that cannot be seen among the rest of gaming culture.  For example, if Rockstar had come out and said that Red Dead Redemption II had to be delayed for months or even longer in order to not have to crunch like this, what do you think the reaction would be?  It would be outrage.  Fan rage would be everywhere.  Shit-posts left and right.  People saying that the devs shouldn’t complain so much.  You know I’m right.

When I started this, I said that gamers aren’t the only ones to blame for this, and I wasn’t lying.  The truth is that the publishers are too.  Not only do huge corporations set hard deadlines that push people, but they also make the hype culture go out of control.  A lot of people blame Bioware for the end of Mass Effect 3 being as bad as it is, but the reality is that that had less to do with them and more to do with EA setting a hard deadline to when the game had to be released.  So they just cut corners and used the first draft of the ending written by some rando dude.  This story isn’t new.

There is something to be said for how Bethesda does thing. Typically, they don’t even announce games until they are almost ready, and when they are reasonably certain that this is when they will be ready.  It’s a good strategy.  Instead of dragging the hype cycle out, they can concentrate it into something that is damn-near orgasmic.  It’s impressive, to say the least.  Even if I don’t like all their game, their strategy of giving devs time to work without taxing them, waiting until they know it’s gonna be ready in time, that’s the right approach.

But these companies also like to get the hype train rolling too. They want to get gamers salivating and putting in those pre-orders.  That’s how the money gets made.  It works.  It really does.  I have been guilty of buying into it myself.  I like to think that I’m more stable about this stuff now, but like I said, I hang on all the news that comes out about Cyberpunk 2077.  It’s addicting.  Especially when I know that the developer has a pedigree for quality that I can tell they aren’t shying away from now.

All of this being said, there does need to be a change.  Gaming culture is becoming unsustainable.  We need to start treating these developers like human beings and having human expectations for them.  I guarantee, it would see the industry be better for it, even if games took longer to make.  We can afford for them to take the time.

Until next time, a quote,

“Got the chrome in the bloodstream
Got a hot red metal soul,
I’m out looking for action,
Guess I’m on a roll.” – Johnny Silverhand, Cyberpunk 2077

Peace out,

Maverick