We’ve been at Gamescom, we’ve been playing The Last of Us remake, and we’ve been talking to the team behind Rings of Power. We’ve been busy, to put it simply.
Here are the best features from TheGamer over the past seven days, from harmful LGBTQ+ tropes to Final Fantasy 14 Macro dances.
The Last of Us Remake Is A Sad Reminder Of Its Bury Your Gays Romance
The Last of Us’ Left Behind DLC was ahead of the curve back in 2013, featuring a queer romance front and centre which should’ve been a cause for celebration. Now it’s a sour reminder of how far we’ve still left to go, because Ellie and Riley’s romance was snuffed out mere moments after it began. As features lead Jade King points out, Naughty Dog fell into the Bury Your Gays trope, where queer characters – often lesbians – are disproportionately killed off. The Last of Us’ remake brings that back to the forefront, and gaming could learn a lot from its troubled representation and how its sequel went on to improve things so much.
The Rings Of Power's Showrunners Didn’t Want To Make “A Documentary Of Middle-earth”
“We figured that some people might raise an eyebrow at it, but we hoped that the storytelling would be engaging enough that they would come in and just enjoy being in Middle-earth.”
Features editor Ben Sledge sat down with The Rings of Power showrunner JD Payne. They talked about how they’re venturing back into Middle-earth, expanding on The Lord of the Ring’s mythos and the things that Peter Jackson didn’t have room for in his movies, all without falling into the trappings of being an exposition-dumping documentary.
I Was A Teenage Exocolonist’s Puberty Scene Is Sweet, Inclusive, And So Damn Real
I Was A Teenage Exocolonist is 2022’s slept-on indie darling, a card-based narrative adventure that feels one part RPG and one part point-and-click. And at its heart is a beautifully inclusive story that lets anyone feel welcomed, something that’s particularly on display with its puberty scene. You live out your years from age ten to 20, meaning that you go through all the awkward stages of puberty, and for Jade, that meant letting them live out a life where they went through the puberty they always wish they’d had as a trans woman, with nothing ever being brought under the microscope or picked apart needlessly.
Final Fantasy 14 Community Spotlight: The Evolution Of Macro Dance
When you think of the critically acclaimed Final Fantasy 14 with its behemoth trial and cult-like following, you probably think of delving into dungeons and taking on myriad quests, the usual RPG fluff. But its players are an inventive bunch, with a whole sect of the community creating entire dance routines and performances using Macros, something guides lead Meg Pelliccio dove deeper into with her weekly Community Spotlight column.
“Holy crap, our shows are so cool now,” Ahro’zi said. “Folks are doing some wild stuff that I didn’t know was possible. I’m just going to gush about our community if I don’t stop myself, haha. The Technical angle for some of our group numbers is crazy and reminds me a lot of real-life musical theater, truthfully. With a lot of the weight of organizational stuff lifted off of folks' shoulders, the sheer amount of polish they are able to do has increased.”
Dragon Age 2 Satirised Cancel Culture Before It Was Even A Thing
You see right-wingers and bigots throw tantrums online every other day, crying that they’ve been “cancelled” for posting hatred and calling for abuse against minority groups. It’s been dubbed ‘cancel culture’, despite many of these people’s careers still thriving – just look at Dave Chapelle – but Ben found in his first-ever Dragon Age playthrough that cancel culture was satirised before it was even a popular term.
The second game features Captain Jeven, who is in the pocket of Big Coterie, one of Kirkwall’s crime gangs, and in outing him, you get him removed from his post. Afterwards, his behaviour is more erratic and his actions worsen, not unlike Donald Trump and Boris Johnson – corrupt politicians who continue to spiral long after their deeds have come to light.
TheGamer’s Trip To Gamescom
A handful of TheGamers took a trip to Gamescom this past week and had hands-on sessions with some highly-anticipated up-and-coming games like High on Life and Sonic Frontiers.
Turns out that the blue blur’s next outing is shaping up to be a fantastic one, even if it’s pushing aside Sonic’s charming cringe, while High on Life might not be the grating Rick & Morty clone that many assumed, though it could easily get too much. News editor Rhiannon Bevan found the combat to be fun, but the humour obviously comes first, so if it isn’t your thing, you probably won’t find much to love.
Meanwhile, editor-in-chief Stacey Henley slipped on a VR headset and tried out Hubris, a game that she says “fills a gap the medium sorely needs”. It's one of the best-looking VR games out there, and feels a lot like Halo: Combat Evolved, so it’s certainly one to look out for. Finally, in true Bevan fashion, Rhiannon embraced her inner-zoomer and tried out SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake, and it looks to be a return to the 2000s in the best way possible.
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