That The Last of Us 2's biggest controversies were of """forced diversity""" (which is at best a value that the developers have always represented in the series, in the foreground since "Left Behind", and in the background since the original game) and a protagonist swap that people didn't like (something that was done in popular games back in 2001 and 2004) shows how little innovation or risk was actually taken by the game.
If anything, these controversies showcase how stupid a portion of the original fanbase was. Which isn't too particularly surprising with how much people put a thumb up their ass over a fairly barebones - if well executed - story.
And yea, I guess that casting as wide a net as possible only to alienate a portion later on with a sequel is somewhat "risky", but only in the sense that the original was so safe to begin with.
Yeah, most of the time I see expressions like "forced diversity", I'm inclined to roll my eyes because the reality of what's been done most of the time is deliberate, un-life-like lack of diversity. It's also just annoying to always be politicized as belonging to a "diversity demographic" as opposed to being part of nature's default demographic or something.
The Last of Us Part II is a game with no clear heroes or villains, that doesn't have a happy ending, that revolves around themes like guilt and trauma and hate and how even an understandable obsession with justice (criminal justice or social justice) can morph into precisely those things, that waters down nothing and forces you, for real reasons, to do lots of things you as the player probably don't want to. It would be controversial even in a world without bigotry. But then you make that same title also the first AAA video game in history to narratively center a lesbian character, add in a character like Abby who many people here at first confused for a man, have her...
...personally kill the lead character from the previous game...
Last edited by Jaicee - on 27 June 2021
...and force you to play as her for about 40% of the game to get a glimpse of the world through her eyes, add in a trans character with a more than incidental role, and keep the tension of the storyline flowing the way it's supposed to by NOT going the open world route like most modern 3D adventures do, and viola, you have the formula for the most controversial video game ever released: one that's absolutely beloved by many of us and utterly despised to a distressing level of fanaticism by most everyone else, with few mixed opinions in-between. Game with the largest volume of negative "user" reviews ever posted to Metacritic by a mile, and also the largest volume of player's choice awards by a mile. If it's not that the game is too diverse for some, it's that it's too depressing, too honest, too violent, too sexual (), too relevant (games are just supposed to be fun!), and on and on the list goes forever. That the game plays it safe ain't usually among those many complaints that I see. Opponents of this game seem to overwhelmingly feel that the problem with TLOU2 is that it's not TLOU1 because they're not used to sequels being made for an actual reason beyond the desire to cash in some more on the first game's success. If only instead this were a modern, generic open-world adventure with Joel reprising the lead and characters like Abby and Lev and other newbs totally omitted. Let's be real: that's the frame of mind.