Video game news outlet VG 24/7 has taken a swing at fans of The Last of Us II who remain suspicious of Naughty Dog’s official claim that individuals outside of Naughty Dog and Sony were responsible for the recent leak of cutscenes months ahead of the game’s official release date, calling skeptics “angry internet babies” and “basement dwelling shitlords.”
Prior to Naughty Dog’s official statement that the leakers were “not affiliated with Sony Interactive Entertainment or Naughty Dog,” the prevalent rumor was that the cutscenes had been leaked by a disgruntled Naughty Dog employee over a pay and benefits dispute, sparking a massive wave of backlash against the studio for their alleged mistreatment of their employees.
Following Naughty Dog’s statement, former Kotaku reporter Jason Schreier claimed the leaks were due to hackers.
He wrote, “Short version: hackers found a security vulnerability in a patch for an older ND game and used it to get access to ND’s servers.”
OK: After talking to two people with direct knowledge of how TLOU2 leaked as well as some Naughty Dog employees, I have a good idea of what happened. Short version: hackers found a security vulnerability in a patch for an older ND game and used it to get access to ND’s servers.
— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) May 3, 2020
He goes on to explain that he believes the footage was leaked “from devs playing an early build,” but admits he hasn’t even seen the leaks.
I think the footage that leaked is from devs playing an early build (I haven’t watched it). Most importantly, rumors of this being an act of protest by a contractor whose pay was robbed are not true. (ND actually extended pay and healthcare benefits for contractors due to covid)
— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) May 3, 2020
On May 4th, in an article headlined “The Last of Us Part 2 has brought out the worst of us,” VG 24/7 Deputy Editor Kirk McKeand the concerns of unconvinced fans over the “wellbeing of the workers at Naughty Dog”, claiming that “these concerns have been co-opted and used as an excuse to act abhorrently by a vocal portion of the audience.”
Dismissing their skepticism as “conspiracy theories,” McKeand insultingly asserts that the only reason these “basement dwelling shitlords who complain about characters’ breast size” are upset is because “the story isn’t catered to them” and claims that fans are using Ellie’s sexuality “as a shield.”
“Yet the conspiracy theories soldier on because of whollopers on the internet. I believe there’s a singular reason for this: it’s because this vocal minority of angry internet babies are pissed off that the story isn’t catered to them, the protagonists of reality.
Over the years, video games have done their best to pander to them. Every bit of corporate messaging makes them believe art is for them and artists are their servants. “We do this for you, the gamers,” says the corporate overlord who wants to sell you a product. “Don’t like something? No worries. We’ll patch it out.”
It’s basement dwelling shitlords who complain about characters’ breast sizes. If they’re realistic, it’s an “SJW” game and it’s “censorship”. If they’re massive cartoon tits, that’s just artistic integrity, dude.
Anyone who’s played The Last of Us knows Ellie is gay and these shitbirds use that fact as a shield – “I liked the first one, so I’m clearly not mad that the game is progressive,” they’ll say. Except Ellie’s sexuality was only explored in an optional DLC. In The Last of Us Part 2, it’s clearly a part of her character and she even has a love interest.”
Disingenuously claiming that these “hateful, disgusting human beings” are solely angry over the game’s “forms of representations,” McKeand generalizes fans expressing genuine concerns with the “predictable bastards” who explicitly spread spoilers unprompted in unrelated spaces:
“I won’t go into spoiler territory, but The Last of Us Part 2 also features other forms of representation, and the reaction to this has been abhorrent. I came into work this morning and spent the first hour of my day banning people in the comments for being hateful, disgusting human beings. And this is only a portion of the turd pie that Naughty Dog employees have been served over the past couple of weeks.
Director Neil Druckmann has also shared some of the antisemetic comments he’s been receiving on Instagram. It’s a barrage of bile. Then there’s the sad people who have created Twitter accounts just to reply to tweets with spoiler videos and messages. The predictable bastards will do it here, no doubt. Hell, even the Assassin’s Creed Valhalla stream chat was littered with spoilers for The Last of Us Part 2.”
McKeand concludes his piece “pointing out the absurdity of it all” by expressing his disgust that “these people dare to hide behind the working conditions at Naughty Dog,” while himself hiding behind the image of Naughty Dog working their “fingers to the bone on something for five years” to condemn “the anger” as never being “about working conditions,” but rather solely about “hate.”
“Yet these people dare to hide behind the working conditions at Naughty Dog. Any criticism of them is shut down and they claim you don’t care about the workers. If you truly believe that, ask yourself this: how would you feel if you worked your fingers to the bone on something for five years, and the conversation around it turned into one of the most toxic events in video games right at the final hurdle? I can only imagine how demoralising these past few weeks have been for the team at Naughty Dog.
The worst part is, there’s nothing anyone can say or do to change their minds. It doesn’t matter that there’s proof this leak was external. It doesn’t matter that a guy on VG247 has written an article pointing out the absurdity of it all. None of it matters. That’s because the anger was never really about that. The anger is there because Naughty Dog dared to make a video game story that seemingly strays from the norm. It’s no wonder most developers play it safe. After all, it never was about working conditions. It’s about hate.”
Facing mounting backlash and criticism towards his article following it’s publication, McKeand appraised the fallout on his Twitter account as “assholes” appearing because “America must be awake.”
Here come the assholes. America must be awake.
— Kirk McKeand (@MckKirk) May 4, 2020