Yesterday, during Microsoft’s E3 press conference in which they featured 42 games, one in particular seemed to stand out: The Last Night, a cinematic platformer, that blends games like Another World and Flashback with the aesthetics of Blade Runner. Though it was only featured for a couple of minutes during Microsoft’s two hour presentation, the game resonated with many across Twitter. The trailer manages to be bright, sexy, and incredibly entertaining, all while simultaneously taking place in a bleak, seemingly cyberpunk future. Seemingly being the key word here, as a look at the synopsis of The Last Night on Steam reads as follows: “Stabilised by universal income, people struggle to find their calling or identity, and define themselves by what they consume, rather than what they create.” Uh…?
I can’t help but think of this scene every time I imagine The Last Night being pitched: “Well, everyone knows a universal income and the end of hard labor would be great for society. What this game presupposes is… maybe it wouldn’t?” While this premise is a hard sell to a large portion of potential consumers regardless, it’s especially controversial considering the current, depressing political climate and disproportion of wealth. This idea also directly contradicts the essence of the genre of cyberpunk itself, though Tim Soret, the game’s creator, seems to be going out of his way to refer to The Last Night as “post-cyberpunk”.
Then, earlier today, Allegra Frank of Polygon posted an article about Soret’s praise of Gamergate and criticism of feminism. In the past, Soret has tweeted, “The Gamergate people are for journalistic integrity, honest debate, transparency, inclusiveness, & egalitarianism” (which is fundamentally untrue) and that he is “against feminism”. Soret offered a hollow defense of his tweets after, which you can read in its entirety in the article above. He claims that his statements were taken out of context and that he completely stands for “equality and inclusiveness” even though his tweets directly contradict this.
Look, the trailer for The Last Night is hot as hell. But there were 41 other games announced at Microsoft’s press conference yesterday, with many looking as, if not more, intriguing. And there will be at least double that announced during the rest of the conference, with both Sony and Nintendo still to deliver their presentations. In a medium already oversaturated with great games on the market right now, it’s impossible for anyone to play everything they want to. With the obvious restrictions of free time and finances, players already have to make difficult decisions about which titles to play and which to skip. A game that makes the argument how having basic needs–such as food, shelter, income, fair working conditions, etc.–for all could potentially be bad for society, made by a person who supports a hate group and argues against equal rights for women, should be easy to cross of the list.