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lapsariangiraff

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lapsariangiraff

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Chiming in on narrative consultants specifically, I think it's a little silly to say that using them would dilute the studio's vision. For example, in a much less charged discipline, environment art is outsourced to third party studios all the time. Games are often too big these days for one studio to do everything alone, so they hire partner studios. Is it "diluting" the vision when a contractor works on an aspect of the game, totally supervised by the existing leadership, their work only getting in if it's approved? Of course not.

Similarly, Sweet Baby Inc writing a few lines of dialogue if a studio is short-staffed on writers isn't undermining the team's artistry and intent. At the end of the day, it's the studio who hired them that needs to approve whatever they create or suggest. There's no pressure. If the work is good, they take it, if it's not, they reject it/ask for a revision.

Now, if someone's worried about "design by committee," I'd look at the publisher micromanaging more than third party consultants/studios for hire. Those notes (with actual pressure) have much more to do with monetization and features they think they "need" to make the game profitable.

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lapsariangiraff

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I have a weird history of engagement on the forums here. I don't read or post as much as I rarely watch Giant Bomb any more, but when I did post anything remotely "woke" it felt like talking to 95% normal people and an irrationally angry 5%. The culture war garbage being shoved down all our throats has a lot to do with algorithms, but it's also all the money that funds right-wing media "critics". The tactic seems to be to yell and scream about manufactured controversies, and then turn around and pretend it's a minority's fault for the yelling and screaming. So it's bigger than gaming, it's everywhere. Movies, music, there's no escape from these talking points. It's honestly exhausting.

For gaming specifically, I think there's just a lot of garden variety ignorance that can be spun into reactionary narratives. A lack of knowledge of how games are made, how much influence minorities have, etc. I remember back in 2014 reading these forums and seeing people say "well why shouldn't Giant Bomb have hired Dan Ryckert -- he was the most qualified candidate!" with very few people saying otherwise, or understanding the pitfalls of that thinking. That's not a moral condemnation of folks 10 years ago, that's just how these spaces were.

A lot of people playing or talking about games treat them as an escape from the real world, but somepeople's definitions of what breaks that fantasy or is "political" are very skewed because of real world nonsense. The bar for what is considered to be "pushing the liberal perspective" is absurdly low. And until that real world nonsense blows over or changes, we're going to keep seeing this looping conversation in gaming spaces. For my sanity, I just block certain videos on YouTube and move on.

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lapsariangiraff

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@imunbeatable80: Re: the writing, yes and no...? To me, the maturity didn't stick out as much to me in Persona, but that could just be because of the high school setting, where characters with a level of immaturity are to be expected. Like, there's juvenile "heehee hoohoo what if we saw hot (underage high school :grimace:) girls in bikinis" moments, but that reads like horny teens to me; Vincent's immaturity, however, comes across far crasser due to his age.

I wonder if Atlus views Vincent's actions similarly to the way we do, and just tilted their framing in the writing a bit to make the choice between Catherine and Katherine debatable, like, at all? Because if we look at just the facts Catherine is a nightmare, Vincent is an asshole, and Katherine deserves better -- but to create any tension in the story it has to be framed like "welllllll Katherine is REALLY MEAN and Catherine is REALLY SEXY and Vincent REALLY DOES want to put his foot down one way or the other, but [insert narrative contrivance why this goes on another day]!" The late game twist feels like an unearned Spec Ops The Line deal where they go, "aha! the nightmare woman we pushed you toward and forced the main character to interact with was BAD!" Like uh... yeah? I was trying to kick her out of Vincent's life as quickly as possible?

There is, however, a similar conservative streak present in Persona, regardless of the quality of the writing. I think of how Persona 4 manages to introduce both trans and gay-coded characters while still resolving their stories in a way that seems to write off or dismiss those very identities? It's rough.

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lapsariangiraff

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The block-pushing gameplay is honestly slept on. I got into this after watching some EVO (yes, that EVO) sideroom multiplayer matches, and the multiplayer is really fun! Only downside to that is that, at least in the OG version, that only unlocks after you beat the story, which is a surprisingly stiff hurdle due to the difficulty you mentioned.

As for the story... yeah, I have all the same issues you do. It's still novel and interesting, just because so few mainstream AAA/AA games involve relationships, let alone sexuality, but it really has the maturity of a teenage boy past the premise itself. "WHOAAAAAA SEXY FUN BLONDE, YOU KNOW WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT BLONDES VS. BRUNETTES LOL" like cmon.

The look and sound of it is great, though, as with a lot of Atlus' work.

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#5  Edited By lapsariangiraff

I love how this "debate" started around 2016 by right-wing fringe types, and 7 years later these same ridiculous claims are being parroted by ignorant concern trolls as the "mild" take because all the other panic around trans people has gotten so extreme. Really, really exposing just how little some people think of us, and making me recontextualize some earlier posts in this thread.

The same garbage gender essentialization can be dressed up in progressive language too. For example, I went to a (to its detriment) incredibly progressive liberal arts college, and some nonbinary acquaintances would consistently treat my dude friends like trash and when called out on it, they'd say, "well, I was abused by a cis man, so, you know."

The pain and trauma of abuse is valid. Using that pain to justify being a shitty person isn't, especially to the degree JKR and GC types have taken it. "I was abused by a man, so 1% of women shouldn't be allowed to exist in public," isn't an argument.

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#6  Edited By lapsariangiraff

We can only speculate as to why they delayed, but if this was in reaction to the State of Play reception, I think Rocksteady made a big mistake. What people were reacting to wasn't polish, but the core gameplay and genre, the kind of mistake that was several years in the making (IE, the moment they bet on live service games still being relevant by the time development was finished) and that much more impossible to course-correct from.

Also, just conceptually, though I'm not the first to say this -- a superhero game that's a third person shooter? With guns as mundane as these? Really? Can't wait to unlock the Legendary Harley Quinn AK-47.

If it's polish, though, godspeed, get the game out in a state they can live with as quickly as possible so they can move on to the next project.

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lapsariangiraff

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@cornfed40: Yep, and I'm not playing Atomic Heart, either. That's not quite the dilemma you think it is. I've only been publicly talking about Hogwarts Legacy because I actually feel confident discussing the issue there, whereas Atomic Heart there are a lot of people who know more than me.

After seeing a few folks talk about this for the day, it really just sounds like people are mad that more people are talking about one thing than another. Which is just... how public attention works? Especially when HL is one of the best selling games of the year and therefore more people have something to say? Advocating against profiting a transphobic author doesn't mean I have to spend literally every waking second of my life actively decrying every bad thing in the world.

Simply telling GB staff outright you don't like their coverage of Atomic Hearts would be a lot more effective than saying, "well why did you talk about one thing and not the other?" You say you're not making a "the community is hypocritical" argument here, but what you're saying certainly has all the hallmarks of one. Plus, it implies the crew not wanting to play HL is somehow less valid.

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lapsariangiraff

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@andarthiel: Whinging about a perceived lack of social consciousness while still saying "the Ukraine" unironically in 2023 (chef's kiss)

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lapsariangiraff

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@broshmosh: Thanks! Happy to save you the typing. :P

Perversely, I enjoy figuring out the best way to articulate this stuff. One part physical inability to not take the bait, one part clarifying my thoughts with strangers in case someone in real life asks me what I think.

@mistersims It's interesting how suddenly aware of issues in the gaming industry people become when the need for a smokescreen arises. "Everything is bad, actually," isn't as clever as Dunkey thinks it is. You could stick any "problematic" (ugh, hate that word,) media at the beginning of the video and the argument would remain the same. But folks have been explaining the difference between JKR and a "problematic fave" like HP Lovecraft for... literal years (in this very thread!) now, so you're clearly not very invested or engaged in what people are saying. I look forward to seeing you post a third random YouTube video in a few days!

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lapsariangiraff

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@av_gamer: Yep. This might surprise you, but I agree completely. Most people don't care very much, if they know at all. I have no illusion as to how little middle America or, for lack of a better word, "normie" individuals think about trans people in general, let alone trans rights and those who campaign against them. If someone says, "I don't really care that much about trans people, that doesn't affect me and I want to play Hogwarts Legacy," I totally respect that. I don't like it, but it's understandable, very few people think of people other than themselves. For example, throwing myself under the tracks -- I didn't really care about the misguided "werewolf-AIDS" analogy Rowling drew, because it didn't affect my enjoyment, personally. Didn't mean I disagreed with the critique, just meant it wasn't important enough to me. And most people operate like this.

All that being said, I've had to reiterate myself and walk on eggshells for this entire discourse, because most people aren't talking about the main topic of the thread, are they? If it were that simple, I could say, "People can buy whatever they want, but I won't like it if they do, and I'll try to raise awareness of the harm this purchase potentially does. But that's it, go with god," and that would be that. But it's not that simple, because a lot of people are morphing this conversation or using Hogwarts Legacy as a site for a proxy debate, on multiple topics:

-Is JKR really transphobic?
-Okay, but is she actually doing harm?
-Okay, but does she actually get money from Hogwarts Legacy sales?
-Does her lack of personal involvement with development absolve the game?
-Should journalists cover the game?
-Have "trans activists" gone too far in voicing their displeasure? (Of course, performing the classic "holding every member of the community accountable for the shittiest or most vitriolic of their ranks)
-But what if I really like Harry Potter?
-Is judging people for their purchases fascism?
-Shouldn't I support the devs?
-Wasn't the boycott a bad tactic for the trans community? Haven't they done more harm to their cause by doing this?

I truly don't understand why "buy the game if you want, but it does harm trans people" has driven so many online so berserk. It's the most milquetoast of statements, up there with "buying Nestle indirectly harms children because they employ child slave labor." But where someone on the other end of the Nestle comment would likely grimace but shrug it off, saying the same about one video game drives people to write paragraphs about "Actually..."

Anyway. I've seen your stuff around the site for awhile, AV_Gamer, and I generally really respect your posts, so I don't want to think most of this is aimed at you. It's not -- like I said, I agree with what you said, but your simple and accurate post kind of made me retroactively realize how off the rails other comments have gotten, ha. If I were to say one more thing directly, I'd note that "some people who support her views" is a larger number than you may think. Certainly far smaller than the majority of indifferent customers in the middle, for sure, but a short glance at the Steam forums for the game reveals just a cesspit of transphobia and hateful screeds. And I think it's a much larger number of trolls than trans people speaking up on this issue, on numbers and social engagement alone. The backlash against trans people online following the release of the game has been horrifying, and I'm annoyed that folks in general aren't discussing that more.