Forums - Politics Discussion - (POSSIBLE SPOILERS INSIDE) The agenda and political discussion of Naughty Dog

Have politics damaged the quality of ND games

No 28 39.44%
 
Yes 43 60.56%
 
Total:71
the-pi-guy said:

padib said:

I truly haven't, I watched a number of portions of the game, and I appreciated what I saw. But I did not play it myself.

Spoiler!
However when it comes to the way Joel was killed and what he had to do for it to happen, I feel like it's out of character for the protagonist of the first game, I feel like it was forced into the story. If it happened later, at least players would have appreciated playing as Joel for a bit longer. Also, if what happened was done at the hands of an antagonist that would have been very difficult to watch, but at least the players would not have to play as the character who did that vile thing. Still, it felt cheap and of course it had to be done at the hands of a girl, which makes it even nastier. You know, we saw Ned Stark die at the hands of Geoffrey Baratheon, that worked because Geoffrey was a piece of shit and it only made his character more detestable. But here, Abby is the protagonist of the game, and it felt like girl power being forced into yet another game, and I personally see through it and, while I'm not a fan of TLOU (though I respect the game), it makes me angry that this kind of thing is creeping into media and entertainment.

End game spoilers if you don't mind being spoiled.

Spoiler!

Spoiler text.

Abby isn't "the" protaganist of the game.  

You play as Ellie through like 55% of the game, and Abby as 45%.  The whole story is about what Abby and Ellie go through.  Abby lost her father to Joel.  Ellie lost her father figure Joel to Abby.  Neither one is the bad guy, neither one is the good guy.  They're both flawed people who go to these crazy lengths to avenge someone they loved.

There was nothing out of character for Joel.  He was a more trusting person who lived in a community for the first time.  And it still largely required him to get run into the building by a horde of infected.  And even then, he was held at gun point by several people.  

And he was beaten by someone with a golf club, while still being held at gun point.  

These are the actual end game spoilers:

Spoiler!

The end point is when Ellie finally understands why Joel did what he did.  

This is a big part of why the claims that the game is about hating white men isn't just wrong, it's literally the furthest thing from the truth.

Thanks the-pi-guy

Spoiler!
I knew about what happened in the hospital, and that Abby's father was one of the doctors, but I didn't know that Ellie ends up understanding finally, in the end. That does redeem it much more than what I saw in Star Wars, and makes it more understandable. I was so burnt by some of the things they make us gobble in movies that I honestly just tapped out and expected it to be more of that. But given the visuals in the game and what you're telling me, I am now more on the fence about it. Still I can't shake off how I feel about entertainment nowadays and I do spend a lot of time online trying to get some peace about some of my favorite franchises dragged to the ground. As a big fan of TWD, I can understand that people make regretful decisions in a world in ruin, and that's what makes it interesting. Had I a PS4 I would have probably tried it out for myself, I'm sure now that I would've been probably surprised by the whole thing if I put aside for a moment my annoyance, I'm sure I would have enjoyed it like I see many others here doing it. I don't regret reacting against it from what I heard and researched at the beginning, but I am willing to say I'll postpone my judgement a little more next time.


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padib said:
Hiku said:

That is the question I was asking, yeah.
So why do you think this scene happened at the point in time it did? Would it work the same way or better if it occurred later, in order to understand Abby? Why/why not?

Wanting the players to experience something specific with your writing can also be labeled as an agenda. May not be something nefarious, but still important to discuss when we bring up the story.

Also I don't know how much of the game you're familiar with. Have you experienced the full story?

I truly haven't, I watched a number of portions of the game, and I appreciated what I saw. But I did not play it myself.

Spoiler!
However when it comes to the way Joel was killed and what he had to do for it to happen, I feel like it's out of character for the protagonist of the first game, I feel like it was forced into the story. If it happened later, at least players would have appreciated playing as Joel for a bit longer. Also, if what happened was done at the hands of an antagonist that would have been very difficult to watch, but at least the players would not have to play as the character who did that vile thing. Still, it felt cheap and of course it had to be done at the hands of a girl, which makes it even nastier. You know, we saw Ned Stark die at the hands of Geoffrey Baratheon, that worked because Geoffrey was a piece of shit and it only made his character more detestable. But here, Abby is the protagonist of the game, and it felt like girl power being forced into yet another game, and I personally see through it and, while I'm not a fan of TLOU (though I respect the game), it makes me angry that this kind of thing is creeping into media and entertainment.

I see.
I'll give a similar answer to Eric below, so I'll type it there.

EricHiggin said:
DonFerrari said:

As I said to John, perhaps if they done a RE2 way, you choose to play as Abby or Ellie and get to the ending, and if you finish both you can do the true ending. That way some would even ignore that they had to play with Abby they hate because it killed Joel, and perhaps as said by him it would be easier for some to accept the story if they did it linear in time so they would understand Abby's reasons earlier.

That probably would have helped a little, but it would all get out their quickly and the worst scenario would still get a similar reaction. While it's way too late now, some of this character development should have been foreshadowed or hinted at in the very least in TLOU, and then expanded upon in Part II. Then some of the story (narrative) of Part II should have been saved for Part III. It doesn't flow well and almost feels rushed.

The fact it's called Part II just makes it worse. You automatically expect it's simply a continuation of everything you've known from the first. When it doesn't turn out to be that way, or is considerably different, you're almost always going to get a negative reaction. Killing off a beloved main character is tough to do period, but if you're going to do it, it has to be in an acceptable manner to the story as told/known. If you want people to be able to swallow it that is.

While it's not quite the same equivalence, imagine if at the start of Horizon II, that Aloy get's brutally murdered by some new character, and then you play as Sylens to go after them. Whether that new character had previously 'legitimate' unknown reasons to the player, like Abby did, it would still be ridiculous and many people would not like it.

There are times stories can shift a bit, and points in the story for shock and awe, but I think ND messed up this time around.

I think people point out 'what' happened, but not 'why, they're commonly missing what TLOU2 tried to do that was unique to it unlike other revenge stories. Finding out the motive of an antagonist not unusual. Being able to play as them likewise.

Some of what makes TLOU2 unique in this regard could only have been achieved this way. Not if this was foreshadowed more in other parts, split into two games, or saved for Part 3, etc.

The first key factor is how Abby was introduced.
The second is the timing of the events.
And the third is the way Abby and Ellie are explored after that.

Spoiler!

Joel meets a very brutal and pathetic end for such a developed and beloved character. We barely got to see much of him before it happened. And it was at the hands of an almost completely undeveloped new character. With a very imposing stature as well. All these things mattered, as they made it that much easier to hate Abby.

If we had previously been introduced to her in TLOU1, or if we got to play as her more before this event happened, and this scene occurred near the middle or end of the game instead, or if she was just a cute scrawny little 14 year old like Ellie was, we'd be more sympathetic to her, and the purpose of the scene wouldn't have been as effective.
The goal here was to make people hate Abby, and this whole situation, as much as possible. Even questioning Naughty Dog's writing. And it worked.

I wanted to see her beaten to death with a golf club. I saw more than one person make that exact same remark. I can't recall feeling that strongly about killing a character before.
People were angry, sad, even nauseated.

It soon became apparent that they were going to try to make us sympathize with Abby, through flashbacks and by playing the game from her perspective.
And I was quickly resigned to the idea that no matter what they show, I'm not going to think that what happened in that scene was ok. How it happened. And when it happened. I never considered that that could have been the point.

I've watched a few Youtubers since to see their reaction, and I commonly saw the same reaction to when they started playing as Abby. "I get that they want me to feel for Abby, but..."
There was always this reservation because of how and when that initial scene played out. Even when we got happy flashbacks of Joel and Ellie, there was a dark cloud looming over it. You can't forget what happened.

Finding out Abby's motivation still didn't change much about how I felt. And I don't think that was the point. It's everything that happened while we were busy thinking about how nothing will make that scene ok.
Because that scene occurred very early in the game, it gave us that much more time to get to know the killer after already hating her with a passion. That's why it happened so early. And that's something I haven't experienced before when being able to play as the antagonist.

I initially thought of anything in Abby's story unrelated to Joel as more of a distraction from the most important issue. And because of that, before I realized it, I was invested in a separate storyline with new characters I cared about such as Yara and Lev.
And this character I initially hated with a passion and wanted to see killed with a golfclub, I did not want that any more.

I now also began to view Ellie as more antagonistic. Yet another thing that was not on my Bingo card when I first booted up this game. In the boss fight against Ellie, she's the cowardly boss with the gun while you're unarmed and have to try to sneak up on her. Mirroring the fight against David in the first game.

The more extreme that initial scene was, the more heavily the game could challenge our views.
It started with Ellie and Abby on the opposite ends of two extremes. And as you kept playing, they slowly began to drift towards the same center. Abby more and more clearly became a counterpart to Ellie. She went through very similar things. Ellie went to a museum with Joel. Abby went to an aquarium. Ellie lost her father. Abby lost her father. They both did shitty things, and they both did good things. Neither one was either good or evil.
How everyone ends up feeling about each character depends on the person. But I don't recall experiencing something like this anywhere else.
And that's something I can take away from this game.

Another theme they highlighted with this game is the regret of staying mad at your loved ones when you don't know how much time you have with them.
Ellie was mad at Joel for years, even though she loved him and she knew he loved her. And they had just began to patch things up right before this happened.
Because Ellie and Joel are such established and beloved characters, and we waited 7 years for a sequel, Naughty Dog were able to hammer home this point a lot harder than most stories possibly could. And that last flashback scene of them trying to patch things up was so powerful.

I will say though that I think the writing majorly falters at the final act. Before that, seeing Ellie, Joel, Abby or anyone else as both good or evil depending on who's perspective you're looking from made perfect sense in this kind of world. And I'm glad Naughty Dog decided to explore that, while challenging our established views of these characters.
However, I could not buy that Tommy would be this petty, vindictive and manipulative person that he is in the end. Both in this game and the first one they mention that Tommy has done some bad things, so you can say it was foreshadowed. But foreshadowing is not development.

Likewise, I also could not believe that Ellie would accept the proposal to once again go after Abby. After already killing so many of Abby's friends, and Abby letting her live, twice? Killing so many of Abby's friends should have been enough. "It has to be", as both her and Tommy decided earlier when they planned to turn back and go home. And that was before Abby let her live for the second time.

Ellie losing everything in the end, facing her worst possible nightmare of being alone, not even being able to play the guitar that Joel gave her, was the price for pursuing vengeance. If her motivations in the final act had felt more in character, I could have appreciated this part more.

Last edited by Hiku - 5 days ago

Hiku said:
DonFerrari said:

With Abby I have 0 problem. But with nadine that is exactly the problem, Natan have killed whole armies, have beaten supernatural enemy but get schooled by Nadine even with the help of his brother and can't even touch her... I understand why that is done and can overcome it, it is something common in game to show the level of the challenge, but felt very unnatural (and not only because she was a woman that wasn't muscle head, because we know that most of the top fighters in our world aren't really that big on muscles).

I think since Nathan is the type of character that comes out of conflicts with entire armies alive, I don't really think about how much his battles make sense any more.
Though I think with Nadine they were presenting him with the challenge of a martial arts expert, which to my recollection Nate hasn't dealt with before. He usually solves his problems with guns. So when facing someone excelling at hand to hand combat, Nate is like a fish out of the water.
It reminded me a bit of how James Bond started getting beat up in humiliating ways by Jaws, after always looking like the cool guy before that.

And I think it can be charming to see our heroes fall flat on their butt a few times.

The thing is that martial arts are really not that effective in real life confrontations, this has been put to the test in recent years especially. On top of that, it is one woman against two men who are not strangers to physical challenges themselves. This was a clear statement and it tastes like the crap that it is. For me, it was just a little blemish in a great game, nothing major but totally unnecessary. Also, they just might have pulled their punches a little because she was a woman, imagine the uproar if they actually kicked the shit out of a woman.. Interesting how this whole equality thing works.



Runa216 said:
John2290 said:

You're filled with so much hate, I feel for ya man. I has a period in my life where I was like you and I didn't realise until after the fact. Life gets better man, i hope it does for you. 

I hate bigots, yes. I hate bad people. I hate it when people try to devalue the hardships of others for the sake of maintaining the status quo. I hate it when people use poor logic but it works becuase too many people are too shortsighted to do actual research and understand the nuance of a situation. I hate fearmongering, I hate sexism, I hate racism, I hate it when people are disrespectful of others for something that doesn't affect them, and I hate it when people act like I'm the bad guy because I've had it with people like you spouting hate and then cowering behind the victim mentality any time someone calls you out on it. 

I'm a very loving person to those who deserve it. 

I've long since run out of patience for the kinds of people I'm seeing with increased frequency on the internet. 

So they got to you. That is their goal. Just to sow chaos, tear down things that people have enjoyed and watch different groups bicker with each other. Nothing to do with equality. That work is being done behind the scenes by traditional means, without fanfare or glory or collecting virtue points.



DonFerrari said:
Runa216 said:

I never said it was good, I said the reasons people are hating it are not good reasons to say it's bad. I don't like The Last of Us and likely won't play the sequel because I don't much care for the gameplay or Naughty dog's style over substance mentality. I play games that are fun, I watch movies or TV or read books for deep, nuanced storytelling and character work. 

I just think the reasons people are hating this game indiscriminately are not good reasons to hate a game and are entirely based off entitlement or bigotry. 

You are questioning John hating the story, I have done some convo with him and it have about 0 to do with what you think. You are just making straw man and dishing out personal attacks based on your own assumptions of why they don't like, while you yourself doesn't like. If we were to do like you we could say you don't like Naughty Dog games because they featured white males until now and you defend TLOU2 because it feature females, probably I would be wrong by over a country mile, but that is exactly the type of argument you are using.

There is no denying that ND is going for a progressive agenda, key people in the company already confirmed it. The point is have it ruined their work? For majority it doesn't seem like it, but some people don't like where they are taking the studio.

And since you don't like the original and didn't play the second, so your understanding of the IP is likely much smaller than the ones that are showing why they don't like what was done, yet you are acting like you know better than then not only about the game but also about what is going inside their mind.

Why are the people who have no attachment to the first game even speaking on this? They don't seem to be able to relate to why people loved Joel and why the sequel seems bad to them. Just defending the agenda, no matter what.



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Torillian said:
DonFerrari said:

Guess you are mixing things.

Would it be reasonable to meet you on the street at random? 1 in 7 billions people? Nope. Would it be possible? Yes it would.

So it is possible that someone like her exist (and we have the female that was used as reference that is very similar to her), but is it reasonable as within expectations? Not really. Is it a problem? Of course not, after all life is made of very (un)likely events that are unique when weaved together.

But then how do you define reasonable? If a single character is a gay, black, transgender woman with green eyes they're an amalgam of unlikely things but they are just a single person and if I want to make a game about such a character it would be no different to me finding someone like that in the real world and doing a documentary on them or making that a character in a movie for a story I felt like telling. If I tell a story about a lottery winner is that not reasonable? 

If it was reasonable to find a lottery winner in the middle of a zombie apocalypse and you felt that the lottery win was the most interesting aspect of the thing, then sure.



EricHiggin said:
padib said:

Within the story they created around that foundation, I think that in the end they wanted us to feel enraged at Abby, but then try to understand where she was coming from in her revenge story as things progressed. For me I would disconnect from the start, because I see through it, but I respect that you kept going and gave the game a chance regardless. I'm not against that, I'm generally just against injecting an agenda into a game at the game's foundation, much like what's being done with movies.

I don't want to take the fun away from anyone, I know that people are enjoying the game and good for them. The thread is asking us our opinion on a possible agenda behind TLOU2 given staff changes at Naughty Dog and I believe it matches with what I see in Hollywood, and I really don't like it.

I respect this game, those who created it, especially the visual work and the script, but in the end the game to me is flawed due to a political agenda, and once I see that, I lose my immersion and I disconnect, and I find it unfortunate, esp. since franchises are dying right now because of it.

Situations like these are actually hurting the cause just as much if not more than it would otherwise. One of the biggest problems is the idea of taking something that is well known and popular, dismantling it, and building something considerably different from it. People hate change in general, and they hate it even more the faster it happens, which tends to lead to significant backlash.

The reason this approach is taken in the first place, is because it's extremely difficult to start something fresh and original and turn it into something widely popular, or at the very least takes a considerable amount of time to come to fruition. Not to mention, considering the agenda's and narrative's they wish to portray in these cases, it's likely to take even longer because of what type and how much change is being asked of people.

I mean just look at vehicles for example as something simple and not all that personal. The more recent Dodge Dart did not do well and was discontinued quickly because if you knew what the old Dodge Dart was and what it stood for, you didn't want anything to do with the new one. That car got a lot of backlash and had a lot of negativity towards it. It's the same reason why the more recent Dodge Challenger is accepted and does reasonably well, because it's a fairly minor deviation from what it once was.

Trying to take things like Star Wars or TLOU and turn them into something they weren't, especially in the way it's been done, is way too much change to quickly. People are not only being pushed to hard to fast, or somewhere they just won't go period, but at the same time, to them, something they love or hold dear is being ruined. To some it even seems like they're almost being given an ultimatum. Change quickly and agree or what you enjoy will be torn down. This approach isn't exactly working out they way it was meant to, unless of course tearing everything down is actually part of the agenda.

In today's world, while tech may change and advance quickly in just a few years time, people do not change at that same pace. Not even close. Younger generations have a harder time understanding this though and are under the impression that personal changes to people's thoughts, opinions, and beliefs, should change just as quickly. The older you get, the more set in your ways you become, which is tough to understand when you're younger and more malleable.

While I don't have the exact answer if there is one, it's been one step forward, two steps back for quite a while now, so if they actually want to make positive forward progress, they've got to either find another way, or just let off the gas for a while and coast and see where that get's them. People are way more open to a Sunday drive vs jumping into a race car at the track. ND should have at the very least, saved some of this story narrative for Part III. It would have been more palatable for everyone all around and presumably wouldn't have received near as much backlash.

Yeah. Look, take any other game or movie that people loved because of the dynamics of the two main characters and their journey together. Bad Boys with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence comes to mind off the top of my head(yeah, it's ancient because I'm ancient, I know, although the third movie came out this year). Imagine people waiting for 7 years to get that second movie and then suddenly Mike or Marcus is brutally killed like 10 minutes into the film. Then the killer takes over the movie and never faces real consequences of what he has done. What the hell is that? The heart of the thing would have been destroyed and you would expect people to just love it and applaud the bold new direction? Well, apparently some people would. I mean, I accept now that Druckmann simply wanted to do something unexpected and controversial and that's his right of course. I just didn't find it appealing and I'm not alone.



Dante9 said:
EricHiggin said:

Situations like these are actually hurting the cause just as much if not more than it would otherwise. One of the biggest problems is the idea of taking something that is well known and popular, dismantling it, and building something considerably different from it. People hate change in general, and they hate it even more the faster it happens, which tends to lead to significant backlash.

The reason this approach is taken in the first place, is because it's extremely difficult to start something fresh and original and turn it into something widely popular, or at the very least takes a considerable amount of time to come to fruition. Not to mention, considering the agenda's and narrative's they wish to portray in these cases, it's likely to take even longer because of what type and how much change is being asked of people.

I mean just look at vehicles for example as something simple and not all that personal. The more recent Dodge Dart did not do well and was discontinued quickly because if you knew what the old Dodge Dart was and what it stood for, you didn't want anything to do with the new one. That car got a lot of backlash and had a lot of negativity towards it. It's the same reason why the more recent Dodge Challenger is accepted and does reasonably well, because it's a fairly minor deviation from what it once was.

Trying to take things like Star Wars or TLOU and turn them into something they weren't, especially in the way it's been done, is way too much change to quickly. People are not only being pushed to hard to fast, or somewhere they just won't go period, but at the same time, to them, something they love or hold dear is being ruined. To some it even seems like they're almost being given an ultimatum. Change quickly and agree or what you enjoy will be torn down. This approach isn't exactly working out they way it was meant to, unless of course tearing everything down is actually part of the agenda.

In today's world, while tech may change and advance quickly in just a few years time, people do not change at that same pace. Not even close. Younger generations have a harder time understanding this though and are under the impression that personal changes to people's thoughts, opinions, and beliefs, should change just as quickly. The older you get, the more set in your ways you become, which is tough to understand when you're younger and more malleable.

While I don't have the exact answer if there is one, it's been one step forward, two steps back for quite a while now, so if they actually want to make positive forward progress, they've got to either find another way, or just let off the gas for a while and coast and see where that get's them. People are way more open to a Sunday drive vs jumping into a race car at the track. ND should have at the very least, saved some of this story narrative for Part III. It would have been more palatable for everyone all around and presumably wouldn't have received near as much backlash.

Yeah. Look, take any other game or movie that people loved because of the dynamics of the two main characters and their journey together. Bad Boys with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence comes to mind off the top of my head(yeah, it's ancient because I'm ancient, I know, although the third movie came out this year). Imagine people waiting for 7 years to get that second movie and then suddenly Mike or Marcus is brutally killed like 10 minutes into the film. Then the killer takes over the movie and never faces real consequences of what he has done. What the hell is that? The heart of the thing would have been destroyed and you would expect people to just love it and applaud the bold new direction? Well, apparently some people would. I mean, I accept now that Druckmann simply wanted to do something unexpected and controversial and that's his right of course. I just didn't find it appealing and I'm not alone.

Spoiler!
Are you saying that Abby doesnt face any real consequences just because she isnt killed? She loses everyone she cares for except for Lev. She is captured, tortured and starved for 2 months. What do you think Abby would have wanted more? All that or only her being killed by Ellie?
Last edited by KLXVER - 4 days ago

Hiku said:
Immersiveunreality said:
Spoiler!
For some a lesson in revenge is not enough to justify the decision to make such a drastic and schocking thing happen to one of the most beloved characters of all time in games.

Not my personal view on it but i understand how others can look at this and when there is so much backlash for that same thing then it raises the question if this was a bad direction or not.

I'll ask you a similar question.

What are some of the reasons you think Naughty Dog 1.) had that event happen 2.) at the stage it happened? (As in early in the game vs late in the game.)
What were they trying to convey, and how did the timing and execution of that scene affect this?

Spoiler!
Lesson in revenge

is more vague. I'm looking for more elaborate analysis.

I want to compare my understanding to your guys. Because as I kept playing, I became less and less against the decision, and eventually felt like this was more or less the only way to do what they tried to do. Which I've never seen before in a game. Or perhaps any medium.

I was not responding to a question toward myself but just saying that i can understand it can be seen as that.

Understanding does not mean agreeing or defending,everyone has motivations for what they think and even when we not agree that does not mean we can not try to understand it.

Bolded: We can not give clear factual reasons with lack of inside information of that company,i myself think they made bad pacing decisions and did not put enough time into making us more sympathetic towards some of the characters before some gruesome events happened but the reasoning can only be assumed at this point .I'm also very much against things that players are forced to do like the Ellie,Nora situation but that is just me.

At the end i stopped caring for Ellie and wanted Abby to be safe,but only at the very end and i would have a slight problem with playing her for an extended amount of time because i'm personally very emotionally invested in a story.

Spoiler!
Lesson on how revenge does not pay off is what i meant,and that is the story,a very simple story and not implemented greatly imo
Last edited by Immersiveunreality - 4 days ago

Hiku said:
padib said:

I truly haven't, I watched a number of portions of the game, and I appreciated what I saw. But I did not play it myself.

Spoiler!
However when it comes to the way Joel was killed and what he had to do for it to happen, I feel like it's out of character for the protagonist of the first game, I feel like it was forced into the story. If it happened later, at least players would have appreciated playing as Joel for a bit longer. Also, if what happened was done at the hands of an antagonist that would have been very difficult to watch, but at least the players would not have to play as the character who did that vile thing. Still, it felt cheap and of course it had to be done at the hands of a girl, which makes it even nastier. You know, we saw Ned Stark die at the hands of Geoffrey Baratheon, that worked because Geoffrey was a piece of shit and it only made his character more detestable. But here, Abby is the protagonist of the game, and it felt like girl power being forced into yet another game, and I personally see through it and, while I'm not a fan of TLOU (though I respect the game), it makes me angry that this kind of thing is creeping into media and entertainment.

I see.
I'll give a similar answer to Eric below, so I'll type it there.

EricHiggin said:

That probably would have helped a little, but it would all get out their quickly and the worst scenario would still get a similar reaction. While it's way too late now, some of this character development should have been foreshadowed or hinted at in the very least in TLOU, and then expanded upon in Part II. Then some of the story (narrative) of Part II should have been saved for Part III. It doesn't flow well and almost feels rushed.

The fact it's called Part II just makes it worse. You automatically expect it's simply a continuation of everything you've known from the first. When it doesn't turn out to be that way, or is considerably different, you're almost always going to get a negative reaction. Killing off a beloved main character is tough to do period, but if you're going to do it, it has to be in an acceptable manner to the story as told/known. If you want people to be able to swallow it that is.

While it's not quite the same equivalence, imagine if at the start of Horizon II, that Aloy get's brutally murdered by some new character, and then you play as Sylens to go after them. Whether that new character had previously 'legitimate' unknown reasons to the player, like Abby did, it would still be ridiculous and many people would not like it.

There are times stories can shift a bit, and points in the story for shock and awe, but I think ND messed up this time around.

I think people point out 'what' happened, but not 'why, they're commonly missing what TLOU2 tried to do that was unique to it unlike other revenge stories. Finding out the motive of an antagonist not unusual. Being able to play as them likewise.

Some of what makes TLOU2 unique in this regard could only have been achieved this way. Not if this was foreshadowed more in other parts, split into two games, or saved for Part 3, etc.

The first key factor is how Abby was introduced.
The second is the timing of the events.
And the third is the way Abby and Ellie are explored after that.

Spoiler!

Joel meets a very brutal and pathetic end for such a developed and beloved character. We barely got to see much of him before it happened. And it was at the hands of an almost completely undeveloped new character. With a very imposing stature as well. All these things mattered, as they made it that much easier to hate Abby.

If we had previously been introduced to her in TLOU1, or if we got to play as her more before this event happened, and this scene occurred near the middle or end of the game instead, or if she was just a cute scrawny little 14 year old like Ellie was, we'd be more sympathetic to her, and the purpose of the scene wouldn't have been as effective.
The goal here was to make people hate Abby, and this whole situation, as much as possible. Even questioning Naughty Dog's writing. And it worked.

I wanted to see her beaten to death with a golf club. I saw more than one person make that exact same remark. I can't recall feeling that strongly about killing a character before.
People were angry, sad, even nauseated.

It soon became apparent that they were going to try to make us sympathize with Abby, through flashbacks and by playing the game from her perspective.
And I was quickly resigned to the idea that no matter what they show, I'm not going to think that what happened in that scene was ok. How it happened. And when it happened. I never considered that that could have been the point.

I've watched a few Youtubers since to see their reaction, and I commonly saw the same reaction to when they started playing as Abby. "I get that they want me to feel for Abby, but..."
There was always this reservation because of how and when that initial scene played out. Even when we got happy flashbacks of Joel and Ellie, there was a dark cloud looming over it. You can't forget what happened.

Finding out Abby's motivation still didn't change much about how I felt. And I don't think that was the point. It's everything that happened while we were busy thinking about how nothing will make that scene ok.
Because that scene occurred very early in the game, it gave us that much more time to get to know the killer after already hating her with a passion. That's why it happened so early. And that's something I haven't experienced before when being able to play as the antagonist.

I initially thought of anything in Abby's story unrelated to Joel as more of a distraction from the most important issue. And because of that, before I realized it, I was invested in a separate storyline with new characters I cared about such as Yara and Lev.
And this character I initially hated with a passion and wanted to see killed with a golfclub, I did not want that any more.

I now also began to view Ellie as more antagonistic. Yet another thing that was not on my Bingo card when I first booted up this game. In the boss fight against Ellie, she's the cowardly boss with the gun while you're unarmed and have to try to sneak up on her. Mirroring the fight against David in the first game.

The more extreme that initial scene was, the more heavily the game could challenge our views.
It started with Ellie and Abby on the opposite ends of two extremes. And as you kept playing, they slowly began to drift towards the same center. Abby more and more clearly became a counterpart to Ellie. She went through very similar things. Ellie went to a museum with Joel. Abby went to an aquarium. Ellie lost her father. Abby lost her father. They both did shitty things, and they both did good things. Neither one was either good or evil.
How everyone ends up feeling about each character depends on the person. But I don't recall experiencing something like this anywhere else.
And that's something I can take away from this game.

Another theme they highlighted with this game is the regret of staying mad at your loved ones when you don't know how much time you have with them.
Ellie was mad at Joel for years, even though she loved him and she knew he loved her. And they had just began to patch things up right before this happened.
Because Ellie and Joel are such established and beloved characters, and we waited 7 years for a sequel, Naughty Dog were able to hammer home this point a lot harder than most stories possibly could. And that last flashback scene of them trying to patch things up was so powerful.

I will say though that I think the writing majorly falters at the final act. Before that, seeing Ellie, Joel, Abby or anyone else as both good or evil depending on who's perspective you're looking from made perfect sense in this kind of world. And I'm glad Naughty Dog decided to explore that, while challenging our established views of these characters.
However, I could not buy that Tommy would be this petty, vindictive and manipulative person that he is in the end. Both in this game and the first one they mention that Tommy has done some bad things, so you can say it was foreshadowed. But foreshadowing is not development.

Likewise, I also could not believe that Ellie would accept the proposal to once again go after Abby. After already killing so many of Abby's friends, and Abby letting her live, twice? Killing so many of Abby's friends should have been enough. "It has to be", as both her and Tommy decided earlier when they planned to turn back and go home. And that was before Abby let her live for the second time.

Ellie losing everything in the end, facing her worst possible nightmare of being alone, not even being able to play the guitar that Joel gave her, was the price for pursuing vengeance. If her motivations in the final act had felt more in character, I could have appreciated this part more.

I did understand the killing of Joel from the beggining and didn't hate Abby because of it. But because of the grouping and torturing.

After finishing the game it became clear that Abby wasn't bad but consumed by hate. Owen was just doing it because he loved her and Mel had a grudge but didn't had on her to really do it. But the rest of the people there were really bad people and you can see it from the convos.

Dante9 said:
Hiku said:

I think since Nathan is the type of character that comes out of conflicts with entire armies alive, I don't really think about how much his battles make sense any more.
Though I think with Nadine they were presenting him with the challenge of a martial arts expert, which to my recollection Nate hasn't dealt with before. He usually solves his problems with guns. So when facing someone excelling at hand to hand combat, Nate is like a fish out of the water.
It reminded me a bit of how James Bond started getting beat up in humiliating ways by Jaws, after always looking like the cool guy before that.

And I think it can be charming to see our heroes fall flat on their butt a few times.

The thing is that martial arts are really not that effective in real life confrontations, this has been put to the test in recent years especially. On top of that, it is one woman against two men who are not strangers to physical challenges themselves. This was a clear statement and it tastes like the crap that it is. For me, it was just a little blemish in a great game, nothing major but totally unnecessary. Also, they just might have pulled their punches a little because she was a woman, imagine the uproar if they actually kicked the shit out of a woman.. Interesting how this whole equality thing works.

Where did you take that real martial arts aren't effective? If that was the case they wouldn't have been developed by millenia for confrontation and war. You may say that martial arts aren't effective against a gun pointed to your head, but to say a regular joe on the street would kick Anderson Silva as on his prime is totally wrong, sure if we were talking about 20 people kicking him then probably he wouldn't stand a chance.

You know BJJ? In Brazil during the 80s and early 90s they had a very bad reputation because a lot of their pratictioners used to go to nightclubs to provoke fights and smack opponents. One of the Gracie was well know for participating in street fighting, and during the early 20th century their dojo was famous to do public challenges and dojo hunting.

Dante9 said:
DonFerrari said:

You are questioning John hating the story, I have done some convo with him and it have about 0 to do with what you think. You are just making straw man and dishing out personal attacks based on your own assumptions of why they don't like, while you yourself doesn't like. If we were to do like you we could say you don't like Naughty Dog games because they featured white males until now and you defend TLOU2 because it feature females, probably I would be wrong by over a country mile, but that is exactly the type of argument you are using.

There is no denying that ND is going for a progressive agenda, key people in the company already confirmed it. The point is have it ruined their work? For majority it doesn't seem like it, but some people don't like where they are taking the studio.

And since you don't like the original and didn't play the second, so your understanding of the IP is likely much smaller than the ones that are showing why they don't like what was done, yet you are acting like you know better than then not only about the game but also about what is going inside their mind.

Why are the people who have no attachment to the first game even speaking on this? They don't seem to be able to relate to why people loved Joel and why the sequel seems bad to them. Just defending the agenda, no matter what.

For me it seems exactly like this, since if gives portrayal of minority them it needs defense even if you don't like or care and anyone that likes or care but is complaining is automatically wrong.

Seems like I liked how the second game was done and you don't, I could overlook the agenda since the game was well put together, but for you it was off-putting. But we can talk civil about why and how we like or dislike and based on the merits of the game.

Dante9 said:
EricHiggin said:

Situations like these are actually hurting the cause just as much if not more than it would otherwise. One of the biggest problems is the idea of taking something that is well known and popular, dismantling it, and building something considerably different from it. People hate change in general, and they hate it even more the faster it happens, which tends to lead to significant backlash.

The reason this approach is taken in the first place, is because it's extremely difficult to start something fresh and original and turn it into something widely popular, or at the very least takes a considerable amount of time to come to fruition. Not to mention, considering the agenda's and narrative's they wish to portray in these cases, it's likely to take even longer because of what type and how much change is being asked of people.

I mean just look at vehicles for example as something simple and not all that personal. The more recent Dodge Dart did not do well and was discontinued quickly because if you knew what the old Dodge Dart was and what it stood for, you didn't want anything to do with the new one. That car got a lot of backlash and had a lot of negativity towards it. It's the same reason why the more recent Dodge Challenger is accepted and does reasonably well, because it's a fairly minor deviation from what it once was.

Trying to take things like Star Wars or TLOU and turn them into something they weren't, especially in the way it's been done, is way too much change to quickly. People are not only being pushed to hard to fast, or somewhere they just won't go period, but at the same time, to them, something they love or hold dear is being ruined. To some it even seems like they're almost being given an ultimatum. Change quickly and agree or what you enjoy will be torn down. This approach isn't exactly working out they way it was meant to, unless of course tearing everything down is actually part of the agenda.

In today's world, while tech may change and advance quickly in just a few years time, people do not change at that same pace. Not even close. Younger generations have a harder time understanding this though and are under the impression that personal changes to people's thoughts, opinions, and beliefs, should change just as quickly. The older you get, the more set in your ways you become, which is tough to understand when you're younger and more malleable.

While I don't have the exact answer if there is one, it's been one step forward, two steps back for quite a while now, so if they actually want to make positive forward progress, they've got to either find another way, or just let off the gas for a while and coast and see where that get's them. People are way more open to a Sunday drive vs jumping into a race car at the track. ND should have at the very least, saved some of this story narrative for Part III. It would have been more palatable for everyone all around and presumably wouldn't have received near as much backlash.

Yeah. Look, take any other game or movie that people loved because of the dynamics of the two main characters and their journey together. Bad Boys with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence comes to mind off the top of my head(yeah, it's ancient because I'm ancient, I know, although the third movie came out this year). Imagine people waiting for 7 years to get that second movie and then suddenly Mike or Marcus is brutally killed like 10 minutes into the film. Then the killer takes over the movie and never faces real consequences of what he has done. What the hell is that? The heart of the thing would have been destroyed and you would expect people to just love it and applaud the bold new direction? Well, apparently some people would. I mean, I accept now that Druckmann simply wanted to do something unexpected and controversial and that's his right of course. I just didn't find it appealing and I'm not alone.

Did you watch the second movie? Because that is almost what happens. And Abby had very real and direct immediate consequences. Actually Joel was the one that gone without consequence for a long time and you were ok with it because you liked him since you played with him. That is probably why people often like and sides with criminals if they are close enough.



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