Move cursor into the quote at the beginning and press up. This way your cursor is above the quote and you can start typing.
First and foremost, I have a technical question: How did you do that with getting the quote box to appear in the middle of your post rather than defaulting to the top where you can't type above it? That could be very useful knowledge to have in the future if I wish to like quote from a news article sometime without having to use the spoiler boxes that hide the text unless you click on them.
Secondly, well obviously I'm a hardcore gamer or else I probably would be here on a dedicated forum about video games.
Yeah, it was kind of a joke. Also a lot of your OP boils down to (at least how I read it): "I liked TLOU2 but others didn't - what is wrong with you?" That is so much a hardcore gamer thing to do. Let it go.
But it's also totally disingenuous to characterize games like The Last of Us Part II as a "safer" to make than these examples. You know what I'm getting at. Games like that don't just generate passive dismissal from core gamers or something like how many casual games are treated, they face active rage, up to and include death threats against the creators. Wii Sports never got that reaction, I guarantee you.
I get that a lot of the backlash against TLOU2 is about absolutely stupid stuff, but it is like it is. But for others the reasons to dislike TLOU2 are similar to the backlash to Metroid Other M. The game decided to characterize important characters in new ways, and it didn't sit well with everyone. But that doesn't mean these directions were bold or brave and creative. Probably the devs were caught by surprise.There is a lot of that. Mass Effect 3 ending, Windwakers visual style and so on. That happens. In other cases it works, God of War for example. But overall these things aren't a result to creativity. Basically you have to make some choices, if you progress a series to new hardware and changed societies. I don't see bold creative choices in TLOU2, just an adaption to the zeitgeist. That for some fans of the series felt off and some are actively fighting against the new zeitgeist and opposed it for that reason.
TLOU2 was a creatively safe game, as it used well-tested gameplay, pushed visuals according to the general direction of the industry and adapted plot and characters according to the mainstream zeitgeist. That indeed is safe. That isn't changed by some very vocal people throwing tantrums online. If society is split over some issues you will piss off one or another either way. And again: I don't think TLOU2 being a bad game. But I just don't see the creative bravery in it. And that was the main claim in the OP.
You have also followed many of my threads and know full well that honestly, in general, indies like Untitled Goose Game and Return of the Obra Dinn and Butterfly Soup and What Remains of Edith Finch and Spiritfarer and Hades and Undertale and There Is No Game and so on usually do tend to be my favorites. I don't know why you seem to feel that the existence, creativity, sincerity, and overall excellence of these games, however, should preclude me from also appreciate that of Naughty Dog's titles just because they fall into the AAA landscape. TLOU2 is one of the most audacious games ever made for only a million different self-evident reasons that we've discussed at-length on this forum innumerable times (typically with the conclusion of the thread getting closed) and you know it. It's just ridiculous and highly dishonest to suggest otherwise.
I know and I gave these examples to remind you of how creativity looks like. And no, obviously the creative bravery of TLOU isn't as self-evident as you think. I think it is a creatively safe but well made game, that just had some ill luck with some very vocal groups.
I feel that many of Sony's modern titles have a depth to them that the sorts of older titles you mentioned liking better from them didn't and that's certainly part of the appeal to me. I enjoyed Parappa the Rapper and Katamari Damacy as much as the next person, but it doesn't preclude me from also appreciating Returnal or Death Stranding even more. I see the latter sorts as boundary-pushing titles in ways that go a little deeper.
As mentioned before, I see that Death Stranding has some creativity to it. But the point also is: Sony never would've greenlighted it, without such a name like Kojima attached to it. And that is the point: in the past they greenlighted games like Loco Roco and Patapon. That is why this quote by Jim Ryan pisses me off as it is. Because I stand by it: Sony is the least creative they have been since entering the gaming console space.
As for Returnal: I think JWeinCom already explained it. While being a good game it is not exactly creatively bold. Roguelikes and shooters aren't new. The combination has also happened, for instance with Risk of Rain. The characterization is following the current zeitgeist, as in movies as well. That all doesn't mean it is a bad game. Just that it isn't much in terms of innvoation or creative boldness (pretty much all games are creative to a point, but you talked about brave and creative freedom, which I don't see here).
Microsoft of all companies is bolder than Sony. Sure, they have their safe bets with Forza and Halo. But then they have Flight simulator, which pushes technical innovation at something new than the usual "more polygons, more effects". It is also not the usual gameplay. And while Starfield and Redfall look like what you expect from the industry, MS still has games like Psychonaut, Grounded or 12 minutes.
And that stuff is currently lacking at Sony. And Jim Ryan is openly lying about that. Which is the thing that makes me angry.
I'd keep going, but I've lost track of what it is we're even arguing about here because it's too stupid.
Well, I challenge the statement that Sony is currently nurturing creative freedom. I wish Sony would fire Jim Ryan, who apparently sees gaming as just another opportunity to make a profit and elevate someone like Shuhei Yoshida, who while being a businessman still shows the passion for gaming as a hobby and an art form.