As per usual, 2017's E3 summit is unveiling exciting updates about some of the the year's most anticipated games, as well as showcasing brand new titles to keep an eye out for in the next 12 months. Along with the Life is Strange prequel, the Xbox One X, and Star Wars Battlefront II, E3 saw the unveiling of a brand new trailer for The Last Night, a 2D cyberpunk adventure which has been causing quite a stir online for all the wrong reasons.
The Last Night is set in a dystopian, post-cyberpunk inspired future where creativity and human labor have been rendered obsolete due to artificial intelligence. Citizens of this world are now desperate to find purpose for living, and find it in the things they consume over the things they create. Players take on the role of Charlie, a man who is unable to interact with those around him following a traumatic childhood accident. The Last Night was originally a short flash game which won the 2014 Cyberpunk Jam.
While the game — which has aptly been called "pixilated Blade Runner" — has been highly praised for its interesting plot and blissful visuals, creative director and Odd Tales founder Tim Soret is currently coming under serious fire for comments he made on Twitter during the 2014 GamerGate scandal.
For the few among you who are blissfully unaware of the scandal, GamerGate refers to the controversy where a female game developer was falsely accused of sleeping with games journalists for positive coverage of her free, text-based game about coping with depression. Many internet commenters justified harassing and doxxing this woman by claiming it was all about the ethics of gaming journalism, but GamerGate generally just led to more female developers being harassed instead of ever effectively addressing any issues of ethics. It's a very divisive subject that is still clearly causing anguish amongst the gaming community, as the following tweets regarding Soret's comments highlight:
The Last Night has been trending on social media for the buzz it generated during its E3 unveiling, as well as Soret's comments. The developer himself took to Twitter to respond to those criticisms, claiming that "a lot has changed" for him over the last three years. It's not a direct apology, but it's not a declaration that he stands by his previous comments either.
Raw Fury — the game's publisher — have also commented on the controversy. In a statement (the entirety of which can be read here) Raw Fury calls Soret's comments "surprising," but goes on to say they don't represent the man they work with today:
"The comments Tim made in 2014 are certainly surprising and don’t fit the person we know, and we hope that everyone reading this who knows us at Raw Fury on a personal and professional level knows that we wouldn’t tolerate working with someone who portrays the caricature of Tim going around the internet right now.
The wording of his statements toward feminism in 2014 was poor, and his buying into GamerGate as a movement on the notion that it represented gamers against journalists was naive, but in the same year he also cheered the rise of women in gaming."
The game has definitely made a bigger impact that many anticipated, and whether or not Soret's past comments will impact the game's sales is yet to be seen. However, it goes to show that the wounds carved in the 2014 scandal have yet to heal.
Do you believe the art should be separate from the artist? Let us know in the comments.