Stop Writing Bullshit and Virtue Signaling to Sell Your Ads

The unnecessary controversy surrounding The Last of Us 2 is rediculous. Polygon is virtue signaling.

Update: Sony’s Jim Ryan has beautifully commented on the whole matter, stating the game is made for adults by adults. Meanwhile, 8-year olds can go play Genie.

We showed a lovely range of games [at the Media Showcase] last night. The Last of Us obviously is a game made by adults to be played by adults. I should never prejudge this but it will probably be rated ’18’, I think it’s fair to say. And there’s that market for those people who like that sort of game. Adults who like that sort of game. And I think we cater for that, and at the other end of the spectrum, there was Concrete Genie, which my 8-year-old decided was the game she would like to play very much.

Original Article: The Last of Us 2 developer Naughty Dog released a fantastic new trailer at Paris Games Week. It highlighted the gruesome reality that if/when civilization goes down, humanity dies and violence among human beings becomes the biggest threat.

The trailer for The Last of Us 2 was impactful and showed an even darker tone compared to the original game. Naughty Dog has always used impactful, emotional trailers to tell their stories; especially with The Last of Us games. But it seems the trailer has managed to upset certain circles.

Soon after the trailer went live, Polygon published an article that criticised the trailer for being insensitive to violence against women. While violence against women is nothing to joke about, the hypocrisy and virtue signaling in the article are unsettling to me.

Without any context, the trailer fails to introduce (or even really tease) the story players will embark on. That is its problem – the artcle reads.

The point of this trailer was to ignite speculations, which it successfully did, and not to provide you context so you can better understand the violence. Even with context can we ever understand violence? Would it have been OK if there was context? That would have made violence against women OK for you?

Every character in the game has his/her own reasoning for violence – some want to survive, some want to rebuilt civilization, some want to find a cure, and others just wish to see the world burn.

The woman (the one being hanged) in the trailer seems to be part of a cult (something that we are told by another character in the trailer saying “she is one of them”) and she is probably pregnant. The woman who tortured her and hanged the pregnant lady, held a knife to her belly, further indicated the pregnancy.

The child in question is probably Ellie. Meanwhile, another woman had her elbow shattered with a hammer, it is plausible that she is part of the rebellion against the cult. But this is just speculation, which is exactly the purpose of the trailer.

The violence is particularly upsetting as it features the assault of women. Violent attacks on women, many times for perfunctory purposes, isn’t new. The Killing Joke saw the Joker torture Barbara Gordon in a statement that reinforced the notion that gender influences violence. The volatile imagery used in the trailer to underline the heinous acts being committed are familiar scenes to us. We’ve seen this play out in other TV shows or movies before, and in real life. 35 percent of women have experienced violence at the hands of another person in their lifetime, according to 2017 report from the United Nations.

The Joker tortured Jason Todd and killed him in Batman: Under the Red Hood, where were you then?

What’s interesting is that Ellie, a woman, and Lara Croft, another woman, killed countless men in their games and we saw them assassinating many in trailers but that never triggered anyone like this. Violence against men is somehow OK even though millions of men are victims of assault in the United States and around the world, but if we see women being tortured in video games, suddenly it is a major problem that needs to be discussed and developers must be criticised.

The world of The Last of Us is brutal and violent; in the first game, you spend most of your time killing everything in sight, which alone provides all the justification and context for this trailer.

Women are in charge of the whole situation in the trailer; a woman is torturing a woman while two men act as her lackeys. The scene is not about violence against women, it is just about violence. And if you fail to understand the context, it is advised that you play the first game as well as watch the reveal trailer for The Last of Us 2 where Ellie swear’s “to kill them all,” potentially placing the people we saw in the new trailer in the antagonist’s role. Of course, she said that after killing a handful of men inside a house where she then sits and plays guitar. The Last of Us is not about violence against a specific gender, it shows the downfall of humanity where all of us are to blame.

If you think Naughty Dog is using violence to sell its game than I sure expect hundreds of articles from you soon criticizing Activision, Ubisoft, EA, CD Project Red, WB, and many more studios. It is clear that the theme for The Last of Us 2 is hate and we expect Naughty Dog to stick to their vision and not allow such opinions to shape their stories.

The community is with you ND as you are the masters your craft.

It’s all in the way we see; you see a woman being tortured and hanged, another attacked with a hammer. I choose to see that they were strong women who came out on top, showing that the women are strong enough to survive all odds.

Sarmad is our Senior Editor, and is also one of the more refined and cultured among us. He's 25, a finance major, and having the time of his life writing about videogames.