In the wake of the massive wave of backlash facing The Last of Us Part II from fans disappointed by the game’s plot, The Last of Us II actresses Laura Bailey and Shannon Woodward blamed the negative feedback on “bots” in a series of now-deleted tweets.
After years of waiting and months of leaks revealing the game’s questionable story direction, The Last of Us Part II finally released to the general public on June 19th, though the reception was far less than the resounding applause expected by Naughty Dog and VP Neil Druckmann.
As players eventually began to complete the game, many found themselves frustrated by the poor execution of the game’s story, as well as its failure to develop on the first game’s core gameplay in any significant way.
The negative player impressions and reviews soon reached the ears of Bailey, who provides the motion capture and voice over work for Abby, and Woodward, who portrays Dina, to which the two actresses responded by dismissing the fan criticism as the work of “bots” and “bot farms.”
Woodward wrote, “A lot of very upset bots afoot today.”
While Bailey added, “All of the bots.”
Woodward then stated, “The bot farms are fullllyyy activated rn.”
Bailey and Woodward have since deleted their respective tweets.
Contrary to their accusations, not all negative feedback has come from unverifiable Twitter accounts.
Established outlets such as Kotaku, Vice, and Polygon have also offered up harsh appraisals of the game’s final product, taking similar issue with the stagnating gameplay and forced attempts at eliciting player guilt.
As of writing, The Last of Us II currently holds a 95/100 score from critics and a 4.0/10 score from users on the media review aggregate website Metacritic, with many user reviews citing their love of the first game as a basis for their disappointment in the sequel’s violent attempts at subverting player expectations.
The use of automated bots as a scapegoat for unpopular viewpoints has become a popular tactic ever since the 2016 election of President Donald Trump was falsely attributed to the use of Russian bots.
In 2018, Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson dismissed the negative reception towards his movie and placed blame on Russian bots, citing a study that claimed that more than half of those who disliked the dismal Star Wars sequel were “bots, trolls/sock puppets or political activists using the debate to propagate political messages supporting extreme right-wing causes and the discrimination of gender, race or sexuality.”
What do you make of Woodward and Bailey’s comments?