There was a period after the Xbox E3 conference where I thought The Last Night developed by Odd Tales looked like one of the cooler indie reveals. Its Blade Runner aesthetics and neon gloom are right up my alley. However, that interest turned to morbid curiosity when it surfaced one of the co-creators, Tim Soret, appears to be a Gamergate supporter.
For those not in the loop on Gamergate, it basically boils down a 2014 movement against gaming journalism ethics that soon became skewed and unrecognisable. The message of journalists unethically having close ties to developers was soon drowned out by direct gunning for developer Zoe Quinn, who received death threats and harassment due to relationships she allegedly had with influential writers. Some truly vile stuff was said, which you can read about here if you so choose.
What could have been a serious debate about ethics (which isn’t a bad thing at all) warped into a weird attack on feminists and “SJWs” dominating the gaming industry. Of course not everyone in the movement supported this darker side of it, but it certainly muddied the waters enough to make Gamergate supporters questionable.
But what does this have to do with Tim Soret and The Last Night? Well, the co-creator voiced his support for the movement a while ago among other controversial statements, which some people find unacceptable.
@ninomojo I don’t agree. I’m against feminism, because it’s getting more & more skewed. I am for egalitarism. I don’t care boy, girl, alien
— Tim Soret @E3 (@timsoret) July 7, 2014
Don’t bother with The Last Night, the develpoer is a gamergate cunt pic.twitter.com/Yy4MBP60rJ
— 🌦️ Athene 🌦️ (@AtheneAllen) June 11, 2017
If you dredge through Twitter with the key words The Last Night and Gamergate you’ll discover a full spectrum of anger, disappointment, support and indignation regarding this news.
Soret himself doubled back on his previous statements at the PC gaming show and apologised, saying “I am embarrassed by some tweets I made in the past, I want to apologise for those. They do not in any way represent who I am today or what The Last Night will be about.”
Soret also took to Twitter to clarify that The Last Night is not a game against equality or feminism and that he stands for equality and fairness.
2 – In no way is The Last Night a game against feminism or any form of equality. A lot of things changed for me these last years.
— Tim Soret @E3 (@timsoret) June 12, 2017
Publisher Raw Fury also issued a statement distancing Soret from his past comments, saying “we at Raw Fury believe in equality, believe in feminism, and believe everyone has a right and chance at the equal pursuit of happiness. We would not be working with Tim Soret / Odd Tales at all if we believed they were against these principles in any aspect.” You can read the statement in full here.
So where does that put consumers? A lot of people who were initially interested in the game are now shying away from it, but if Soret truly is sorry for his past actions and stating his current position, does that clear him of his past?
You could look outside of the gaming industry for inspiration on this one. For instance, I’m a massive fan of The Smiths, but more often than not think Morrissey talks utter shit. The same goes for those that are into Roman Polanski films, or depending on your thoughts, Woody Allen’s. At what point do you separate the art from the shitty artist?
They’re tough questions, and there’s no definitive answer. Personally I’m open to The Last Night as a title as long as the work doesn’t reflect Soret’s previous bile. People can change and Twitter is a minefield when it comes to issues like this, but I also understand where those who plan to boycott are coming from.