During Paris Games Week, a few highly anticipated game trailers caused much controversy and differing opinions. Two games, The Last of Us II and Detroit: Become Human, have stirred up a ruckus online, and I want to address them both. Keep in mind that these are my thoughts.
‘The Last of Us II‘ Trailer Breakdown
This trailer is quite brutal and begins with no real introduction. We see a character dragged through the mud with her hands tied behind her back. It isn’t long before she wakes up to see others hanging around in nooses.
An assailant strings the mystery woman up to a noose and then has henchmen place a bucket underneath her feet. The assailant brandishes a knife and holds it to the nameless woman’s stomach.
We meet a new character, Yara, who is also in a bind. The trailer turns into something much crueler, showing Yara’s arm shattered by a claw hammer. From the darkness, arrows sail by to kill the henchmen while the hanging woman finishes off the female assailant.
A mysterious man comes out of the shadows to help Yara who, in turn, instructs him to save the nameless woman. Yara then warns them of another problem as creatures charge out of the woods.
My Opinion on ‘The Last of Us II’
I hated the trailer for The Last of Us II. This is partly because I have not played the first one, so I have no frame of reference. I’m also not much of a fan of needless violence because I need some explanation. The Last of Us II trailer doesn’t do anything to showcase the new characters, nor the premise.
Though, fans of the first game are more likely to enjoy the subtle references.
The thing about this particular trailer is it’s not for people like me. Its target audience is for people who already love Naughty Dog’s games – aimed particularly at the fans of the first game. But the trailer for The Last of Us showed the survival premise better than the one we received earlier this week.
So, I think the greater issue that people have regarding the game is the lack of information. And I don’t think there needs to be criticism about the violence because it’s an action-adventure survival horror game. It’s just not my genre of game.
That said, as an industry, we need to expect more from developers. Why did so many news sites talk about this trailer? I urge you to ask yourself was it the violence that caused the problem? Because from where I sit, there is needless violence in other titles that don’t receive the same backlash.
Either way, this trailer didn’t win me over as a fan, but others will certainly purchase The Last of Us II when it launches.
‘Detroit: Become Human’ Trailer Breakdown
Detroit: Become Human begins with a rundown house owned by a man who hires a maid. He outlines her duties and introduces his daughter, Alice. It becomes apparent that something is very wrong here.
It escalates quickly, as Alice gives Kara reason to start snooping through Todd’s personal belongings. Todd becomes violent over the new revelation, hurting Kara and his daughter.
At least, that is one ending to this story. Detroit: Become Human is a story-driven game, where the player determines what will occur. In the end, players get to see a flowchart of decisions for the section shown in the trailer.
My Opinion on ‘Detroit: Become Human’
As a writer in video games media, I often spend time researching what players enjoy about a game. People’s reactions to various controversial issues end up being the most interesting to research because these people comprise our audience, too.
So, when I stumbled across two particular articles with respect to the above-mentioned games, it became apparent that my opinion of them differed.
The trailer for Detroit: Become Human makes sense and spurs my interest in the game. Yes, it portrays a horrific premise that does trigger certain people, but the game trailer illustrates a notion that the outcome can change.
You see a depiction of robots as the good guys. Writer David Cage revealed in a video that he wanted to explore humans as the bad guys. To have that premise, he had to come up with scenarios which showcase the worst in humans.
By doing this, he spurred my emotional outrage toward the fictional character Todd. Not everyone will react the same way. Where I am more likely to save Alice and/or kill Todd, other players would choose not to play. They might not want to deal with moral quandaries – even in fictitious formats.
From the dissenting article to Detroit: Become Human, I must think about the assumptions people make because of a three to five-minute video. A trailer only represents a small slice of a pie. What if the story writer does handle the domestic violence well?
And what if the writer chose a less severe situation, would players care about the characters at all? What made The Last of Us successful was the story. It made you care to protect Ellie’s innocence. That has to say something about what players want right? Personally, I want to see how Detroit turns out.
It is common for writers to have opinions about the world. It is not unusual to have horrible events be a focal point. In other words, people who watched these trailers and had a negative reaction should have felt something.
If the trailers didn’t provoke any emotion in a potential player, then the writer/director failed to do their job. (Also, if players don’t react at all, then there could be a much bigger underlying problem.) Writing of any kind should provoke thought, which can and will lead to discomfort.
Anyone who isn’t largely uncomfortable with those two trailers is not likely to change their perspective. No game is perfect nor will they please everyone. I like the premise of Detroit: Become Human and hate the idea of Last of Us 2. That’s just my opinion.
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