June 20, 2024

Why Woke Politics Exist in Modern Gaming



Published May 12, 2023, 4:08 p.m. by Naomi Charles


When it comes to video games, there’s no escaping politics. Whether it’s the latest big budget release or an indie darling, chances are there’s some sort of political message hidden within. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, some of the best video games out there use their platform to tackle important social and political issues.

But why are so many games starting to include woke politics? Well, there are a few reasons. For one, the gaming industry is becoming more and more diverse. That means that developers are starting to create games that reflect the experiences of a wider range of people. And as we all know, politics is a huge part of our lives.

Another reason is that the world is becoming more and more connected. With social media and the internet, it’s easier than ever for people to share their opinions on the world around them. And as we’ve seen in recent years, there’s a growing appetite for social and political commentary in our entertainment.

So, what does this all mean for the future of gaming? Well, it’s hard to say for sure. But one thing is certain: we can expect to see more and more games tackling important social and political issues. And that can only be a good thing.

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what's up everyone it's Indie me on and

today I want to ask a question that's

been debated for years can we take

politics out of video games and if not

why well that's what I want to explore

today as I'm sure you're well aware the

world is divided you almost can't watch

or play something without having someone

talking down to you or trying to feed

you their Politics as gospel in the past

you could largely enjoy your favorite

hobby without the nonsense that we deal

with today but nowadays companies are

just as concerned with their political

stances as they are with things like

Graphics or gameplay if your game has

the right politics it can mean big

rewards and nominations being showered

upon your studio with examples like The

Last of Us Part 2 being considered by

the modern gaming industry to be one of

the best games of all time while there's

many people out there who equally hate

the game because it ruins Joel and

Sidelines him in favor of Ellie and

characters like Abby or Lev who all

conveniently takes certain identity

political checkboxes then you have

companies like Warner Bros with Hogwarts

Legacy which selectively chose which

were viewers to give review codes to and

they had to constantly remind these

journalists that the game had no ties to

JK Rowling but that game's quality spoke

for itself and now it's a critical and

Commercial Success I mean Legacy sold

over 12 million copies in two weeks

that's nuts I bet the woke activists are

mad about that one

on the other hand you have companies

that are currently in the dumps who

can't seem to keep themselves from

digging deeper Graves recently Ubisoft

has made headlines for teaming up with

UK police when it comes to in-game

speech that's considered hateful Ubisoft

has even said they're doing this to be

on the right side of History basically

this team up is designed so that Ubisoft

can relay any hate mongering in their

online games that could escalate to real

world harm so if you no scope headshots

some dude and he calls you a racial slur

Ubisoft wants to make sure there their

own ass is covered so nobody blames

their games for inciting violence but as

a millennial myself I grew up in the

fires of early Call of Duty multiplayer

lobbies and trust me those were more

toxic and hilarious than anything these

new kids could do how do you even do

Grand Masters I can barely do the

legendary campaign my teammates keep

telling me to build craft but I don't

even know what that is just go back to

bed sleepy Joe and leave the destiny

grind to the professionals apparently

this joint operation Ubisoft has had

with UK police has only resulted in 0.01

percent of reported cases actually

needing a police investigation ubisoft's

Andrew Holiday told the BBC quote this

isn't just a gaming problem it's an

internet problem there's a real appetite

to make the whole ecosystem a better

place what we're working on closely with

police on is triaging where we look at a

case and decide is this one we can deal

with in-house or is this something we

need to pass on end quote another

Ubisoft employee Damian glorio who's the

senior director of relations between

Ubisoft and UK police said quote we want

to be on the right side of History we

have millions of players and tens of

millions of interactions so how can we

spot incidents it is daunting but at the

same time it is very important which is

why we wanted to sign this deal and try

to make things right we wanted to focus

on the most extreme cases make sure we

do the right thing there because it

gives us a solid foundation to build the

rest of our work around and quote I

think this is all ridiculous myself and

if you want a easier and cheaper

solution just don't use your mic in game

seriously just mute people if they're

spewing garbage but what do I know I've

only been playing video games since

online gaming began God I'm old this

political discourse in gaming seems to

be getting fueled almost every other day

with sites now having concerns with

atomic heart the recently released

Russian Bioshock meets Wolfenstein game

I've already done a whole video diving

into to that Russian controversy but now

something else has happened in the

game's promotions you've no doubt seeing

the robot twins well it turns out their

hair is now problematic the hairstyle

that the robot twins have is actually

identical to Ukraine's former prime

minister Yulia timeoshenko one Twitter

user even compiles some images to

further Drive the point that Atomic

Hearts developers designed the twins as

sex slave robots that looked like

Ukraine's former prime minister the

haircut by the way is Iconic in Ukraine

and is directly associated with Yulia

timeoshenko so this coincidence as some

would like to think it is might actually

be legit this time and this design could

be Atomic Hearts Russian devs trying to

defame someone who opposes their

government the entire atomic heart

scenario has even led to Ukraine

officials urging companies like Sony

Microsoft Steam and more to boycott the

game and not sell it but that's Fallen

mostly on deaf ears at atomic heart has

also been criticized for having a racist

depiction of black people in their save

rooms it's from a supposed beloved

cartoon that many Russian people watch

growing up called new pagadi which is

basically the Russian version of Tom and

Jerry in the game you can view entire

episodes of this cartoon when you're in

a saved room and that's where you can

see the racist caricature and review

sites yet again are demanding Atomic

heart's developer remove the footage due

to the political backlash but again like

the twin robots looking like a prime

minister this too will likely just be

kept in and this is the part of the

video where I get spicy but before you

crucify me hear me out I think it's also

important to remember that the politics

and cultural differences between

countries seems to almost never be taken

into account when boycotts are concerned

as in Russia their cartoons may seem

harmless to them but outside of their

country it's now problematic the reality

is that atomic heart as a game is

designed to be inspired heavily by

Russian culture which makes sense and I

think demanding a company that's made a

game that encapsulates a lot of their

own culture and then being ordered to

change it to fit another country's

culture is counter-intuitive it would be

like asking a Holocaust documentary to

not use any footage that would be

problematic or offensive but in order to

retain the authenticity of what that

experience is about it needs to Showcase

what actually is instead of what you

want it to be even if that means the

media in question is problematic or

could be seen as Politically Incorrect

by certain groups basically changing

things that are representative of how

things actually are in certain cultures

is not the right way to go about this if

you sanitize and bend over backwards to

appeal to everyone's problems you'll

appease nobody and end up with a product

that says nothing and has no reason to

exist because any real Nuance or unique

perspective it could have held has been

sanded off in order to not offend anyone

and that's a big problem with today's

gaming as well as all entertainment

there's a constant debate online that

games need more perspectives more varied

locations and games being made by people

that aren't just westerners mostly so

when you end up with a game that

uniquely retains their culture warts and

all like atomic heart I don't think

telling the devs to mold it to fit

Western values makes any sense that

would be like walking into a Japanese

restaurant and demanding a burger and

fries when all they sell is Sushi and

Teriyaki you're asking for more

diversity and storytelling and design

yet when a game comes along that fits

that bill like atomic heart has it's as

if the activist game journalists are mad

because it doesn't fit their beliefs or

push their politics whether the racist

caricature and the haircut the robot

twins have are obviously problematic in

the eyes of the West removing them would

remove the authenticity city of the game

and the culture of what it's about to

begin with besides atomic heart is also

critical of the Soviet Union it's sort

of how in BioShock Infinite they have

separate bathrooms for black and white

people just ignoring the racial tensions

to fit a narrative would be disingenuous

but tackling it head on and displaying

the Grim reality is what art is supposed

to do in the first place and not all

Arts should be politically correct and

it shouldn't be up to the journals and

their homogenized World Views who decide

whether a game should exist or not but

the players who actually support the

games am I making any sense to you if

you sanitize everything but also want

diversity when it comes to storytelling

then you have to be accepting that not

every story or game will be what you

want and when games that try to appeal

to other groups happen like ghostwire

Tokyo for example you end up with a game

that lives in this middle ground that

doesn't capitalize on its unique

cultural Roots enough because because

it's so concerned with checking boxes

that Western Gamers would like such as

having an open world when that game

design idea doesn't fit what the game

should be going for which is being a

horror first person game set in a

Japanese folklore setting what could

have been a cool Focus Japanese game

that plays to the developer's strengths

instead you end up with a game that

doesn't appeal to either horror fans or

open world fans and that's what I'm

talking about if atomic heart bent the

knee to Western political ideals then it

wouldn't be atomic heart anymore and

just another pointless watered-down

product that doesn't say anything of

value or offer a unique perspective the

truth is that video games have always

been political because as soon as your

game has any plot involving religion

governments or War your game will have a

political angle there's no denying that

games like Metal Gear Solid for example

are insanely political but the

difference here is that MGS doesn't talk

down to the audience Kojima used

Concepts like Shadow governments

prisoners of war and generational trauma

in order to tell a story that resonated

with fans Metal Gear Solid is not a good

series because of its politics alone but

because it fearlessly Embraces what

makes it unique even if by today's

standards I'm sure Eva's outfit and

Snake Eater would be problematic to game

journalists I mean remember the whole

controversy surrounding quiet and her

design Kojima could have bent the knee

when it came to quiet but he didn't and

good for him because when you do bend a

knee like Call of Duty does you end up

with games like Vanguard which is a game

set during World War II yet in

multiplayer all Nazi imagery is removed

and the teams are not allies and Nazis

but instead my team and enemy team which

is stupid as hell if I'm being perfectly

honest with you games like Red Dead

Redemption 2 are also political because

they showcase an era of America where

old ways are dying and being replaced by

new Concepts like the industrial Rev

Evolution and it also tackles racism in

the wild west but again it's because it

confidently shows these Concepts as they

are that the game's impact lasts because

it actually has something to say many of

the best games have politics woven into

their identity and honestly it's for the

better games like Metal Gear Rising

Revengeance has you fighting a literal

senator for the future of America which

is both hilarious and amazing nice

argument Senator why don't you back it

up with a source my source is that I

made it the up then you have games

like Mass Effect which is full of

xenophobia cultural politics and morally

gray decision making I mean Mass Effect

3's entire plot is about trying to unite

the Galaxy by getting these different

species who hate one another to look

past their history for the greater good

of the Galaxy and then you have games

like Corey in the House on Nintendo DS

which literally takes place in the White

House you don't get more political than

that even outside of games I would argue

one of the best comics of the last two

decades was Marvel's Civil War which was

probably one of the most political

stories they've ever done and while it

did Pit characters like Captain America

and Iron Man on opposing sides the

actual conflict was deeper than just

punches and explosions it's probably

also why I found Captain America Civil

War to be to this day one of the mcu's

best by a long shot because whether it's

within the confines of Captain America

and Iron Man fighting or movies like

Schindler's List or games like Metal

Gear Solid you have to accept that these

entertainment mediums will always be

political to varying degrees hell even

Elden ring could be seen as political

since the entire dilemma of that Game's

plot is about deciding which outer God's

power will become the next ruler of the

upcoming era do you side with the golden

order and enforce their beliefs or maybe

usher in what Ronnie wants sure they may

not all be sitting in a room together

having a meeting or rallying with signs

on front porches but the reality is that

politics are so interwoven into every

game it's almost impossible to remove

them then there's Executives like Tim

Sweeney CEO of epic games you know the

creators of fortnite he believes that

Wild games are inevitably political

companies should do their best to stay

out of politics which sounds a little

contradicting well Tim had this to say

quote if a game tackles Politics as To

Kill a Mockingbird did as a novel it

should come from the heart of creatives

and not from marketing departments

seeking to capitalize on division we

should get the marketing departments out

of politics we live in a world where

your political affiliation determines

what chicken restaurant you go to

there's no reason to drag divisive

topics like that into gaming we need to

create a very clear separation between

church and state employees customers and

everyone else should be able to express

themselves we as companies need to

divorce ourselves from politics

platforms should be neutral end quote

and in his defense fortnite has largely

stayed politically neutral they don't

really talk down to anyone one but

instead just collaborate with many

different games and Publishers in order

to make money it's likely why fortnite

continues to remain a cultural

phenomenon so many years after its

release but if fortnite were too

suddenly let's say hypothetically have a

black lives matter event where every

white player would need to bend their

knee to black players in solidarity well

yeah that would be Financial suicide for

fortnite and epic and it's refreshing

that epic understands this and wants no

part in it because when you have

developers or companies virtue signal

for clout it never works as they

intended that's why when a Hogwarts

Legacy Dev openly boycotted the game

that mind you they worked on as protest

not only is it hypocritical it's

hilariously tone deaf too like you got

paid to work on the game and now it's

done and you have your money and now

it's suddenly problematic all those

years of working on Hogwarts and you

never once thought to yourself how

working on it would make your woke

activist friends feel like idiots all of

them I'm tired of mincing my words it's

just plain stupidity at this point and

just further solidifies the politics for

many people are just performative acts

with their beliefs being about as

shallow as their personalities

unfortunately many grifters are out

there and I'm sure there are some who

think I'm a part of that group too I

like to think of myself like epic games

does I exist in a neutral space where I

will call out and criticize any side of

what they're doing is insane the only

way forward as a society is to be open

and understanding not to put up walls

and gatekeep like so many Legacy media

sites do these days it's also why I

won't support games like OverWatch

because of their blatant insane

practices where they filter their

characters through algorithms to ensure

new heroes are politically diverse in

case you haven't heard that crazy story

blizzard actually has a program that

rates their characters with things like

skin color sexual orientation and body

shape all having varying values it's why

you haven't seen a straight white male

hero in OverWatch watching years because

being straight white and a man are like

Kryptonite to overwatch's diversity tool

but if you swap that character to say

Asian and a woman or muscular lady who's

probably gay well that character is most

likely going to be made instead it's why

a large majority of AAA games anyways

feel so homogenized and frankly

forgettable because they're too afraid

to step on toes afraid that if they say

something some activist hack will crap

their pants in protests and call them

something phobic it's why Ubisoft didn't

make Far Cry 5 political at all because

they didn't want to piss off the people

who like Trump but because they didn't

take a political stance to hack

activists got belly hurt and said Far

Cry 5 sucks because it didn't attack

Trump you can't seem to win these days

when it comes to Modern gaming and

politics I genuinely believe that art in

all of its forms should be

unapologetically authentic even if that

means it offends people because the

point of art is to say something so even

though atomic heart is clearly very

politically driven and it may or may not

be attacking Ukrainian values the harsh

truth is that just because it doesn't

portray what you think is politically

correct it doesn't mean it needs to be

boycotted or removed from sales fronts

like I'm not a big fan of furries or any

weird stuff like that but you won't see

me telling people to boycott goodbye

Volcano High and I can already guess

that game will have its politics too the

same way atomic heart or Metal Gear

Solid do as well the undeniable truth is

that you simply cannot separate politics

from games or any entertainment medium

for that matter because the reality is

that art is the collective creation of

those whose hands were used to make it

and those hands are Guided by their

minds which have all been influenced by

varying levels of ideologies and

Concepts even those you may or may not

agree with video games without politics

is like Seinfeld without George Costanza

it just can't exist and like I've said

so many times in the past it's not the

politics and video games that are bad

but when creators believe it's their

Duty and right to use their art in order

to talk down to their audience you

should never assume you know better than

everyone else when it comes to any topic

I guarantee you there's someone watching

this right now that knows more about the

stuff than I do and they likely disagree

with me at points and you know what

that's totally fine in fact I encourage

it I hope something I said in this video

has pissed you off or made you think

because that's what art and

entertainment is meant to do if you're

not thinking you're not living in my

opinion hell maybe even me saying that

will piss someone off which if it does

good I'm glad I made you angry now go

use that anger and make something out of

it because the world will never just be

black and white liberal and conservative

but instead you should look at the world

like a peanut butter sandwich on one

side you got jelly the other peanut

butter on their own they're pretty good

but smash those suckers to together and

you got yourself a Bonafide combo that

really hits the spine so if you take

anything away from this video it's that

video games will always be political and

I don't want to hear people saying keep

politics out of gaming when in reality

what they're trying to say is just don't

push it in my face and talk down to me

which I agree with and to the

hacktivists out there who piss and moan

when something is released that they

don't agree with just know it's in your

right to speak and debate it but it's

not your right to demand a culture you

know nothing about personally into

changing their art because it offends

you if you don't like something ignore

it vote with your wallet but don't cry

that things need to be changed because

they don't follow your politics to a t

because when art is told to follow only

one set of ideologies otherwise is

considered problematic that's how you

end up with an industry where so many

games all feel and play the exact same

spewing the same BS we need less

homogenized experiences in more games

movies and whatever else giving unique

perspectives even if they don't agree

with me or you and whether a piece of

art succeeds or doesn't will come down

to whether people support that art

because in the end even if places like

Games Done Quick decide to ban Hogwarts

Legacy and other Harry Potter games

because of JK Rowling the market will

clearly speak volumes by action alone

politics Will Always exist in games

whether we wanted to or not because

ultimately politics are like Humanity

itself it's flawed and it's endless and

you won't change that by crying or

complaining but by using your own

politics to change the world around you

and if you think silencing others is the

only way to strengthen your own personal

beliefs then your politics are probably

so what do you think about politics

and gaming let me know in the comments

thanks for watching and I'll see you

guys in the next one

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