And so, Days Gone continues to make news waves for controversial reasons. John Gavin, the game’s director, who has, for the most part, been bitter against Sony for its treatment of the IP, expressed in a tweet that reviewers panned the game because they were too ‘woke’ to embrace Days Gone’s gruff looking White biker boy who liked his girlfriend’s rear end.
Here is his tweet (which Gavin would then delete):
I Reviewed Days Gone, and I Don’t Consider Myself ‘Woke’
Our site reviewed the game, and I gave it an “average” score. I didn’t really complain about having a White lead, most of my favorite games have had white leads. I mean, I still love Golden Eye, and good old James Bond is a White heterosexual dude, right? The reason I felt that Days Gone was average, had everything to do with its technical hiccups, fetch questing and poor writing in certain sections.
Days Gone was plagued by massive pop up issues, and poor texture streaming. The game ran on the Unreal 4 Engine which wasn’t designed with open world gaming in mind. In that sense, Bend (the developer) did a great job in creating an eerie atmosphere, and at times, a beautiful rendition of Oregon. The game lacked the usual “Sony Studios’ polish” that we have seen in other open world games such as Horizon Zero Dawn, and Ghost of Tsushima.
I gave Days Gone an overall score of 7.5/10. This is not a bad score, Days Gone is a game that I enjoyed on PS4, and that have found a blast to play for short playing stints on PS5 at 60fps. I wrote the following under the game’s “Overall” score tally:
“Had the game ended at around the 30-35 hour mark, perhaps I would have rated the game half a point higher. Days Gone for its first 30 hours had more fun moments than RDR2 in its entirety. Conversely, in its last half it had more tedious moments than RDR2 did in its entire tenure. The joy is never complete in the game, for every good thing that it does, there is always something to complain about. However, Days Gone was capable of creating some of the most memorable moments in my gaming career, and for that, I feel that it was a worthy purchase, and one that I would recommend for anyone interested in adventure games, and the Zombie genre in general.”
There was no “woke” driven criticism on my part. There will never be, and I judged the game for what it was.
The Game Deserved a Sequel
I also felt that the game deserved a sequel, despited the shortcomings in its gameplay, and presentation. Days Gone sold well, even if most of those sales came when the game’s price was reduced, there was a large audience of PS4 players that might have been interested in a “part 2” of the game.
I thought Bend deserved another shot at polishing its beautiful Oregon rendition given that open world sequels usually build, and improve, on the framework set by the original work. Sony shut the project down because of poor Metacritic scores (Sony cares a lot about those). Thus, I can understand Gavin’s frustration with the gaming media in general. That said, he shouldn’t make generalizations about all of the gaming media, unless…
Gavin Took a Shot At The Last of Us, and Naughty Dog
It was rumored that members of Bend were sent to work on The Last of Us Remake after Sony shut down the pitch for a ‘Days Gone 2’. Given that the Last of Us is also a post apocalyptic Zombie game, and it is a critical and commercial darling; Gavin’s animosity towards the franchise is understandable. The Last of Us also happens to have a Lesbian protagonist. While I can’t vouch for what Gavin’s intent was here (when he made the tweet), it is clear that he is not happy with Sony, or game critics.
Personally, I want to believe that, as a journalist, I am in the middle of the ‘Left vs Right’ debate. I can see the pluses of both sides, and the negatives as well. I review games for what they are as a gaming experience. I don’t take into account ‘inclusion’, or other political ideas when handing down a score, whether I think these (political ideas) are a negative or positive thing in a reviewed game.
I will agree with Gavin, that there are some media members that lean far left, more often than they lean far right, but I don’t think most critics panned Days Gone solely based on its protagonist. Could there have been some “woke” reviewers out there that panned the game for having a more conventional white action-hero? Yes, but not nearly enough to affect the meta scores in such a way that it would drive the game 10-15 points down from what Sony would find an acceptable average meta score for one of its exclusive titles.
Sam Witwer lent his likeness and voice to the Deacon St. John’s character, and he is well liked amongst the comic-con ‘nerdom’ populace. Many media members, including myself, fall under that ‘nerdom’ category.
One thing is clear, Gavin remains bitter about Days Gone’s fate. I understand his frustration, but unfortunately, his comments could get him into trouble not only with media outlets, but with game companies looking for talent, and yes, I think Gavin is talented.
Do You Agree, or Disagree With Gavin?
While I understand where Gavin is coming from, I disagree that “wokeness” was the reason Days Gone got less than stellar Metacritic scores. Days Gone had issues, especially in its launch code, and critics had a duty to address those shortcomings in their respective reviews. I will agree with Gavin that Bend, and Days Gone deserved a second crack at life. Sony was too quick to shut down a project that could have yielded great results in the future.
Do you agree with Gavin’s tweet, or Disagree? Let us know on our social media platforms!
Agree with the author? Couldn’t disagree more and are frothing at the mouth to tell him? Leave a comment here, on Facebook or send an email and make sure to follow Never Ending Realm on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube!