The Naughty Dog Agenda - RobinGaming

Personally I'm able to separate the art from the artist. I'm not skipping out on movies, games etc. I think I'll enjoy because someone on the development team, regardless of the size of their role, said something I find abhorrent. I couldn't care less what some voice actor or game producer says or does in their personal life. Hate whites, hate blacks, hate gays or whatever? They're a hateful moron. But if the game they're associated with is great and doesn't reflect that hate, I couldn't care less.

Boycotts for such reasons are dumb as hell as most every large company has some really shitty people working for them, most are just smart enough to keep that shit out of the public eye. In any case, I'm just not that activist, boycotter type. Life is short and I'm focused on maximizing my enjoyment the brief time I have. I focus on doing good myself and not harming others, but I'm not going to be all preachy about it online or be obsessed with never giving any of my money to companies who have some employees with views I find terrible. I'll avoid companies where I think the entire company's purpose, methods of operation etc. are terrible, but that's it.

A lot of us didn't go to Era or left it because we were tired of everything in gaming being politicized. It would be nice if that didn't happen on GAF and we could just focus on the games and whether they're fun or not, and not on the politics of who's making them or whether the characters are white or minority, male or female, gay or straight and so on. A good game is a good game.
 
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Whoah, I had finally enough time to finish reading all this thread.
Great read. Very civilized discussion, from both sides.

At the end I think we should wait for the game to be released. I have watched RobinGaming's video multiple times, and I am a little bit confused because at the end he says he's tired but I cannot really put my hands on what he's tired of. He is nitpicking anecdotal details and even bending reality as if he had an agenda.
The video also states that this voice actor was "the only one" to be handpicked by the company. Specifically a Vice President of a company who is also the Creative Director of their next high-profile title.
False
If ND hand selected a white straight male who was bigoted, the outrage internet culture would be calling for their heads. Funny how we do not hear a peep out of them for this. Oh, they hate the "white man", business as usual.
False
At 12:54 :
"He was hand picked by Neil himself to audition"
He was not hand picked to play the role. He went into auditions like anyone else (at 28m):
He made self tapes and auditionned. Like the girl who plays Victoria (just after.)
It's pretty common I guess. If a position opened in my team, I'd invite people I know would fit to come at my office so that I can interview them.
So that's not the opposite of the others.


As I already said in other threads, showing the kiss was the smarter move (from a marketing point of view) from ND to get free advertisement. This Robin guy is surfing on this buzz.
 
Can you give us examples of him bending reality?
What I quoted regarding Lev's actor. He's subtly implying he was handpicked to play the role, and that this is the opposite of what happened for the other character. This is false.
He's implying Chlodine is canon, which it is not.
At 9m23s he exactly says:
"they'll change around characters to fit their narrative." Actually no. Nothing changed in ND's games as far as we currently know.
Their's also an unsourced claim regarding Nathan's daughter that should have been a boy in the first draft. Does anyone have a serious link? Anyway If he has a problem with the gender of Nathan's children then I am worried.
 
What I quoted regarding Lev's actor. He's subtly implying he was handpicked to play the role, and that this is the opposite of what happened for the other character. This is false.
He's implying Chlodine is canon, which it is not.
At 9m23s he exactly says:
"they'll change around characters to fit their narrative." Actually no. Nothing changed in ND's games as far as we currently know.
Their's also an unsourced claim regarding Nathan's daughter that should have been a boy in the first draft. Does anyone have a serious link? Anyway If he has a problem with the gender of Nathan's children then I am worried.
This is the first I heard of it as well, so I just googled and this came up right near the top.

Initially, in the epilogue, it was Nate’s son. Something similar happened with the mansion they go into. That was an old English guy’s house. She asked, “Well, what if it was a woman?”
https://www.rollingstone.com/cultur...ckmann-on-nathan-drake-sexism-in-games-43705/
 
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He said the only reason that lady was picked to do the interview was that she was a lesbian. That's bending reality.
Yes, he doesn't provide any evidence for that statement. Seems it's just him assuming.

What I quoted regarding Lev's actor. He's subtly implying he was handpicked to play the role, and that this is the opposite of what happened for the other character. This is false.
He says he was handpicked to audition, and that this is different from any other role up till this point. Those are the facts. Any subtlety there I view as him speculating. I mean, he's putting all these examples out there to prove his argument that ND has an agenda. That's the point of the video.

He's implying Chlodine is canon, which it is not.
At 9m23s he exactly says:
"they'll change around characters to fit their narrative." Actually no. Nothing changed in ND's games as far as we currently know.
I don't think he implied anything like that. He seems to think they (ND) wish they could have done something like that, but didn't. So they're doing the next best thing: promoting this shipping on Twitter.

Their's also an unsourced claim regarding Nathan's daughter that should have been a boy in the first draft. Does anyone have a serious link? Anyway If he has a problem with the gender of Nathan's children then I am worried.
He doesn't give the source, but it is based on a real interview given by Druckmann.

You’ve said in the past that you’ve been influenced by Anita Sarkeesian’s Feminist Frequency videos and the larger conversation about diversity and representation in games. How did that affect Uncharted 4?
When I’m introducing and describing a new character to our lead character concept artist, constantly she will ask, “What if it was a girl?” And I’m like, “Oh, I didn’t think about that. Let me think, does that affect or change anything? No? Cool, that’s different. Yeah, let’s do it.”

Initially, in the epilogue, it was Nate’s son. Something similar happened with the mansion they go into. That was an old English guy’s house. She asked, “Well, what if it was a woman?”
 
"He was hand picked by Neil himself to audition"
He was not hand picked to play the role. He went into auditions like anyone else (at 28m):
I was wrong. Thank you for the correction.

The net result is the same:
The creative director of the product and a co-president of the company personally favoured a blatant bigot.
[Unknown stuff happens]
Bigot is now working on and representing the game.

What is remarkable to me is that, in over 1,000 comments, the only time this open, repeated, documented, bigotry has even been acknowledged is in attempts to downplay or shift focus away from it in some fashion.

I think 1 month and 1,000+ comments is a reasonable amount of time for participants to have tackled the concern of a company and its co-president favouring a bigot.
That hasn't happened.
 
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I think 1 month and 1,000+ comments is a reasonable amount of time for participants to have tackled the concern of a company and its co-president favouring a bigot.
That hasn't happened.
(I should say English is not my first language so sorry for any misunderstanding, if any)
Lev's actor was not favored. He auditioned like anyone else.
Like I said, I manage a team of several people. If a position opens, it is perfectly normal that I invite people I know for me to interview them. And to follow normal procedure. They will be compared to others and I'll choose the best candidate.
Would you say that Shannon Woodward was favored? She confessed having asked to have a role. How is that a problem for Lev's actor and not her?

I don't know why nobody noticed that in the 1000+ posts from this thread. Maybe Ian Alexander is a dumass, I don't know, he's like 16 years old, I was one at his age. Maybe he was great in The O.A., maybe he is a great actor, maybe he was cast because of that?? Why is it not your first thought given ND's track record?
 
he's putting all these examples out there to prove his argument that ND has an agenda. That's the point of the video.
Yeah and as I said each one of this details can be interpreted differently (I made a list with time-stamps but am not sure I would have the energy to go through all of them). For me nothing to be alarmed of.
I don't think he implied anything like that. He seems to think they (ND) wish they could have done something like that, but didn't. So they're doing the next best thing: promoting this shipping on Twitter.
I take his words. "they'll change around characters to fit their narrative". If we look at the games and what is canon, this is not the case. Now re-tweeting is what people always do on tweeter. I'm pretty sure you can find other fan arts re-tweeted also that do not imply anything.
He doesn't give the source, but it is based on a real interview given by Druckmann.
Thank you ! I remember reading this interview and the same thing about the old lady in the castle. So now we have a common discussion between game designers, like "should this be red?" "Oh no let's make it blue!", that is presented as pushing an agenda. Please.
 
(I should say English is not my first language so sorry for any misunderstanding, if any)
Lev's actor was not favored. He auditioned like anyone else.
They were favoured. They were hand-picked to audition by the company's co-president and creative director of the game the acting position was for.
This detail was the one you kindly pointed out to me in your earlier comment:
"He was hand picked by Neil himself to audition"
Like I said, I manage a team of several people. If a position opens, it is perfectly normal that I invite people I know for me to interview them. And to follow normal procedure. They will be compared to others and I'll choose the best candidate.
If you are Neil Druckmann then I am particularly interested in learning more.
If that isn't the case then I'm not sure what this anecdote brings to the discussion.

The fact remains: A bigot was favoured by a company co-president and the game's creative director.

Would you say that Shannon Woodward was favored? She confessed having asked to have a role. How is that a problem for Lev's actor and not her?
1. I didn't say the the bigot was favoured, they did.
2. My concern centers on the person that has repeatedly, proudly and publicly expressed bigotted views.

I don't know why nobody noticed that in the 1000+ posts from this thread. Maybe Ian Alexander is a dumass, I don't know, he's like 16 years old, I was one at his age. Maybe he was great in The O.A., maybe he is a great actor, maybe he was cast because of that?? Why is it not your first thought given ND's track record?
It would have been my first thought, being a fan of all ND's games that I've played.
In fact, as I clicked 'Play' on the video my mind was already making reasons to refute what I expected to see.
But the material in the video has broadened my views and made me aware of what appears to be another type of track record.
It encouraged me to pay closer attention and to question what I assumed I knew.

--

And with that said above, I've responded to another comment on the bigotry and the favouritism shown towards its author and it is a comment which is about downplaying and shifting focus from it.
The only time that the evidence of bigotry shown in the video has been referred to directly is to correct a mistake I made.
In that instance, following the details provided in the video down to the exact word is critically important.
As a pedant, I'm 100% on board with that and appreciate it.

However, aside from that singular exception, it's all about steering away from what is in the video and asking multiple questions and what if's about what isn't in the video and about other people that this specific concern isn't about.

Having pointed this out multiple times, I find its repeated practice disingenuous at best.
 
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If you are Neil Druckmann then I am particularly interested in learning more.
If that isn't the case then I'm not sure what this anecdote brings to the discussion.
To show that the creative director inviting people to audition is perfectly normal and does not show any particular "favor" ??
The fact remains: A bigot was favoured by a company co-president and the game's creative director.
How can I say that? A favor would be if from multiple candidates, he would have been chosen despite not being the best for the role.
I didn't say the the bigot was favoured, they did.
Ah maybe I missed that, ND used the word "favored"? If so would you kindly point me to it?
I am sorry I don't really understand what you mean by "bigot". In my country it's someone going too much to the church. His tweets show he may be a dumass. I was one at his age. If he's a great actor then this is the only thing that should matter.

I'm beginning to be tired also. I am not sure I want to have to go through all the details of the video with so much energy, to show that each one of them can be interpreted in a very normal way, and that the fact that RobinGaming chose to interpret each one of them in one particular direction is what is problematic at this point...

The only time that evidence has been referred to directly is to correct a mistake I made. In that instance, following the details provided in the video down to the exact word is critically important.
As a pedant, I'm 100% on board with that and appreciate it.
Sorry about that, I quoted also another guy, I saw several persons in the thread referring to this part of the video, but did not quote them all. Nothing personal here.
 
I'm going to give my personal opinion. I might offend someone, come off as complete bigot or even as a SJW. But again, this is just my personal opinion.

It's 100% obvious that Naughty Dog is trying to push an agenda. Do I think there's anything wrong with it? I used to think it there was something wrong with it, but I change my opinion over the past several years.

I used to think LBGT characters were being forced and that it was unnecessary because it served little to no purpose at all in some video games. One instance in particular is that of Kung Jin from Mortal Kombat X. I thought I was unnecessary to reveal that he was gay. I thought revealing he was gay served little to no purpose and that NetherRealm Studios just wanted to hop on the bandwagon and make gay character. I had similar reactions after playing The Last of Us: Left Behind when Ellie kissed Riley. I said to myself, "Ok? What's the point?"

After some time, I started to understand why this was happening, and I now I'm completely fine with it.

So, why did my opinion change?

I started to realize things similar things were happening years ago. Back then, the topic mainly focused on racial issues and not gender issues. America had a hard time accepting blacks and interracial relationships within the entertainment and sitcoms and music would push to have interracial couples and relations on screen.

Examples:
"Star Trek" the Interracial Kiss
"All in the Family" Sammy's Visit
"All in the Family" ft The Jeffersons
"Jungle Fever"
"SNL" Richard Pryor and Chevy Chase Job Interview"

Some people are going to say that these are in no way similar to that of what's happening now, but is it really that much different? I know people cringed at seeing Ellie and her girlfriend kiss during the Last of Us 2 gameplay trailer and I know for a fact that people also cringed when they saw Captain Kirk kiss Uhura in the 60's. It took decades for blacks and interracial relationships to be accepted on TV and it started when someone pushed for it be shown on TV. Some of these shows were called defining moments in entertainment because they broke barriers. Someone pushed for it to happen and it's why it's easier for America to accept today.

I started writing stories a few years ago and I finally understand why Neil Druckmann is doing this. He wants to break barriers just like people did before him and It's hard for me to complain about that. When I started writing, I slowly started to think about my audience and how I can reach out to people of all genders and racial backgrounds. I don't want to target just one specific group, I want to target as many as I can without trying to force anything.


I may sound l like some random Neil Druckmann fan, but I really do appreciate his work. Writing and reflecting on things that happened in the past helped me to understand why these things are happening. The ending of Uncharted 4 shows that they could have a female protagonist going forward, but will the series be that much different if another male character took the lead role? I think not.

These are just my opinions and how I feel about the entire situation. I don't really care if anyone disagrees - it's just my own personal opinion.

PS: I know my post has some errors (grammar and spelling) but I'm too lazy to go back and correct them.
I disagree. I actually think the writing is too good to have him break down barriers. At least in the first game.

When writers push an agenda it’s almost always terrible, and in fact most writers will tell you if you try you’ll end up with something awful.
But, if you are being true and you utilise what you know, then it usually works. If what you know happens to be somewhat political (what isn’t nowadays?) then all the better for it as it just deepens the work.

The first game was driven largely by character and I felt that Ellie’s character was absolutely in tune with the emerging world she was living in - one which was overly madculine — it made her stand out. In the end it is just far more intersting to have Ellie portrayed that way — In fact if I try and imagine those scenes in the dlc played out with a boy it would make me cringe.

I’m just glad we have a writer as good as Druckman making video games at all. Quality of story should always be the issue, not the politics. He can say whatever he wants as far as I’m concerned as long as it’s not hamfisted.
 
To show that the creative director inviting people to audition is perfectly normal and does not show any particular "favor" ??
That is anecdotal.
It also contradicts what the actor said themselves, and was part of the detail you kindly corrected me on in the first place.

How can I say that? A favor would be if from multiple candidates, he would have been chosen despite not being the best for the role.
This is unknown.

The fact remains that their pathway to securing the role involved direct favouritism from the company's co-president and creative director of the game.
Whatever happened after that instance of favouritism is unknown.
The fact remains that the same person is now in the role, representing the game and the company, and has repeatedly and expressly published bigotted views.

Ah maybe I missed that, ND used the word "favored"? If so would you kindly point me to it?
To hand-pick someone is to show them favouritism.

I am sorry I don't really understand what you mean by "bigot".
Now you tell me! :giggle:

This is the defintion that I go by:
A person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (such as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance
If he's a great actor then this is the only thing that should matter.
I agree. Going by their previous track record, I'm sure all of Naughty Dog's cast will perform their duties to an extremely high standard.

However, in the context of the video posted in the OP, and in statements and influences made by Neil Druckmann, it's increasingly apparent that things are not so simple. Hence the video and this discussion.

I'm beginning to be tired also. I am not sure I want to have to go through all the details of the video with so much energy, to show that each one of them can be interpreted in a very normal way, and that the fact that RobinGaming chose to interpret each one of them in one particular direction is what is problematic at this point...
I'm tiring too.
But there really isn't anything to misinterpret in the views this person has shown to express, or the favouritism they mentioned they received.

Nothing personal here.
Same here.
If I've come across as aggressive or rude then please accept my apologies.
 
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Yeah and as I said each one of this details can be interpreted differently (I made a list with time-stamps but am not sure I would have the energy to go through all of them). For me nothing to be alarmed of.
I mean, that's fair enough. I think he does make a pretty strong case when you put all of that information together, even if some of the examples he brings are a bit weak.

I take his words. "they'll change around characters to fit their narrative". If we look at the games and what is canon, this is not the case. Now re-tweeting is what people always do on tweeter. I'm pretty sure you can find other fan arts re-tweeted also that do not imply anything.
In that section he talks about joking among friends that the two characters will end up in a relationship in the game, and though ultimately that never happened, it is clear ND seems to endorse the shipping of these two characters. They share fan art and retweet posts of fans, but also share art made by ND employees for their 'official' holiday greetings as well, which at the very least hints at a lesbian relationship between the two.

Again, Robin's argument is that he wouldn't have thought for a second about any of these examples if they stood on their own, but with all of that stuff added together, it does seem like there's a pattern to ND's choices as of late.

Thank you ! I remember reading this interview and the same thing about the old lady in the castle. So now we have a common discussion between game designers, like "should this be red?" "Oh no let's make it blue!", that is presented as pushing an agenda. Please.
We know Druckmann is interested in presenting female characters in a certain way so they can become role models for girls. His goal is to change perception of women and girls (in video games). This particular choice, to change Drake's son into a girl, fits that mould quite snug.
 
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It also contradicts what the actor said themselves
I dont see how. Neil Druckmann reached the director of "The O.A." to audition Ian Alexander. How is that not normal?!
Anyway I skipped parts of your post because I'm under the impression we are going in circle here. So I'll use your words to make myself clear:
I don't see any problem here in favoring a "bigot". All of that seems normal to me and not even worth noticing.
And it goes on and on for all the nitpicked details from the OP video.

They share fan art and retweet posts of fans, but also share art made by ND employees for their 'official' holiday greetings as well, which at the very least hints at a lesbian relationship between the two.
This holiday greetings card to me does not hint at any lesbian relationship. I see two embarassed women under the mistletoe. It's RobinGaming who wants to see more. And if you look at Druckmann's or NaughtyDog's twitters, you'll see dozen and dozen of re-twitts of fan-arts that are extremely diverse. Why pick those three?
This particular choice, to change Drake's son into a girl, fits that mould quite snug.
Yeah so now every female character from their games is them pushing an agenda. It's never ending.
 
Yeah so now every female character from their games is them pushing an agenda. It's never ending.
Giving so many aspects it seems that way yes however we do not know but people also get suspicious because of the rest. One thing would have never raised an eye. But the amount of it, the language, the connections to Sarkesian, to the racist bigot new actor who was handpicked. And es also the shipping (I think that is what people call this) it certainly makes a case.

My biggest gripe personally is the act pict hiring of this racist asshole. Also this really opend my eyes how stupid male characters are in Uncharted 4 while women are all smart and always do the right choices or saving the day.
 
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I dont see how. Neil Druckmann reached the director of "The O.A." to audition Ian Alexander. How is that not normal?!
Whether this is normal isn't the argument.
It's still favouritism.

I don't see any problem here in favoring a "bigot". All of that seems normal to me and not even worth noticing.
Thank you for your directness.
I think this is the point where we amicably agree to disagree.
 
Also this really opend my eyes how stupid male characters are in Uncharted 4 while women are all smart and always do the right choices or saving the day.
This actually does not hold up to scrutiny. Sully saves the day countless times. As noted by others above, Nadine is blinded by her self arrogance and at the end loses everything.
 
Also this really opend my eyes how stupid male characters are in Uncharted 4 while women are all smart and always do the right choices or saving the day.
I don't think this happens in Uncharted 4, but they do lean a bit towards that in The Lost Legacy. The bad guy is a dude, working with dudes, and the only "good" male character that comes along is so weak and stupid that he needs the two protagonists to make it through. Where it definitely happens though is in Horizon, where 99% of male characters are either bad guys, stupid, weak or twisted in their intentions. Contrary to 99% of the women having good intentions, being smart and capable.

PS: Hell, even the "Bad" AI has the voice of a man and the "Good" AI has the voice of a woman.
 
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This holiday greetings card to me does not hint at any lesbian relationship. I see two embarassed women under the mistletoe.
Sure, if you want to remove all context from the image and setting.

And if you look at Druckmann's or NaughtyDog's twitters, you'll see dozen and dozen of re-twitts of fan-arts that are extremely diverse. Why pick those three?
Because he's trying to prove a point? Why would he cover irrelevant tweets in his video?

Yeah so now every female character from their games is them pushing an agenda. It's never ending.
Are you saying Druckmann's not consistent in his beliefs on how to represent women in media? I can't think of any that go against his stated ideals. Can you?
 
Sure, if you want to remove all context from the image and setting.
I am not sure how fantasizing about a lesbian relationship that is not in the game is somehow adding context.
Because he's trying to prove a point? Why would he cover irrelevant tweets in his video?
I agree with you that he is trying to prove a point. But nitpicking 3 re-twitts among hundreds of others does not make a fair point. He's trying to prove a point with anecdotal evidences at best.
Are you saying Druckmann's not consistent in his beliefs on how to represent women in media? I can't think of any that go against his stated ideals. Can you?
No I think Druckmann is consistent in his beliefs. I would not expect less from a creative director from a big studio.
What I don't understand is why is RobinGaming seeing in this particular un-harmful instance any red flag for an hypothetical future bad quality of ND's games?
 
What I don't understand is why is RobinGaming seeing in this particular un-harmful instance any red flag for an hypothetical future bad quality of ND's games?
It's just one of the many ways ND expresses its social justice values. For example by making their holiday greetings card thingy depict two established hetero women, embarrassed and blushing under a mistletoe. Either because they think it would be fun if these two were romantically involved, or because they think their audience would enjoy it.

Let's flip this around. Can you imagine what would happen if someone were to draw Ellie marrying a guy, or under a mistletoe with a male character? How'd you think it would go over if ND shared this art on their Twitter, and kept referring to this couple? I expect they would get in trouble for that.
 
I am not sure how fantasizing about a lesbian relationship that is not in the game is somehow adding context.
And I am not sure how fantasizing about a lesbian relationship should ever lead to a red flag. If we let our political views get in the way of being up for some interracial girl on girl action then jesus fucking christ what are we even doing here?