E3 Show Stealer's Old Political Tweets Spark Internet Firestorm, Apology

Odd Tales

Several E3 attendees and viewers were blown away by cyberpunk indie title The Last Night's E3 debut trailer, but the game quickly became the center of a storm of Twitter controversy when viewers noticed that its co-creator, Tim Soret, seemed to be a Gamergate supporter.

"Well, there goes my interest in The Last Night," a Twitter user wrote above some screenshots sampling Soret's tweets from 2014. Soret's older tweets stated, "I'm against feminism. . . I am for egalitarism. I don't care, boy, girl, alien," and "The Gamergate people are for journalistic integrity." More old tweets described The Last Night as a game meant to "show the danger of extreme progressivism" in a "cyberpunk world where modern feminism won instead of egalitarianism." Discussion grew from these tweets, sparking some public renunciations of The Last Night and its co-creator after less than an hour.

Soret swiftly defended himself, tweeting: "I completely stand for equality & inclusiveness." Four hours later, he added, "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." At E3's PC Gaming Show this afternoon, Soret began his showcase of The Last Night with an apology: "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."

The Last Night, slated for 2018, is a "cinematic platformer" that takes place in a dystopia where people lack purpose. Its Steam page reads, "Human labour and creativity has been rendered obsolete by AI, so people are now defining themselves by what they consume, not what they create." It appears to be a commentary on how, after most labour is automated, humans will lose their will to create.

After the initial enthusiasm for the trailer, whispers of Soret's political views led people to dig up old Tweets and forum comments. In them, through hashtags, Soret aligns himself with the Gamergate movement, which he describes as "for journalistic integrity, honest debate, transparency, inclusiveness, & egalitarianism" -- in spite of many in the movement's reputation for targeting women and minorities. Soret also says he's "against feminism." At one point, he asked Gamergate supporter @NotYourShield whether he could use Gamergate icon Vivian James in a commercial cyberpunk project, likely The Last Night. On the forum Gamerama, Soret made a thread on so-called "SJWs" (now, his comments on the thread have been deleted). Since this controversy broke out, it seems that many of his more controversial tweets have been scraped from the internet.

In a statement to Kotaku, a Microsoft spokesperson said they do not "support comments that fail to reflect our commitment to diversity and inclusion, which are part of our everyday business and core values." A little more in-depth, developer Raw Fury's statement addressed widespread concerns of Soret's continued anti-feminist views:

"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.

The comments Tim made in 2014 are certainly surprising and don't fit the person we know, and we hope that everyone reading this who knows us at Raw Fury on a personal and professional level knows that we wouldn't tolerate working with someone who portrays the caricature of Tim going around the internet right now.

The wording of his statements toward feminism in 2014 was poor, and his buying into GamerGate as a movement on the notion that it represented gamers against journalists was naive, but in the same year he also cheered the rise of women in gaming. . .

A lot can change in three years, including viewpoints, and Tim has assured us that The Last Night does not spout a message steeped in regressive stances."

Raw Fury pointed to a 2014 forum thread in which Soret addresses concerns about his alignment with Gamergate. He maintains he's in favour of better and more representation of women in games and at game development studios. Also, he adds, the main character of The Last Night is bisexual. That said, Soret says he does not "buy the patriarchy stuff. Maybe it applies in the USA, but I live in Paris."

It's hard to say whether Soret still holds the views he once professed, loudly, across the internet. We have reached out for comment. Soret's views have alienated some fans who were, for a brief period, enthusiastic about buying the game. Soret isn't a level designer at Bethesda; he's the co-creator of a game. Players are worried that some of those stances described in forum posts as recently as November might bleed into the game.

The rollercoaster of public opinion surrounding The Last Night is the latest, and perhaps fastest, iteration of "Milkshake Duck." Not a real character, "Milkshake Duck" symbolises the flurry of internet excitement surrounding a new thing, and then, that thing's quick fall from public renown.


Comments

    I know a lot of people who supported Gamergate, at least until it was more obvious the banner of journalistic integrity and ethics wasn't the focus.

    By the end it was purely a slime pit of extreme men's rights elements vs extreme feminists.
    The amount of missinformation they spread and ammunition they freely exchanged was fairly disheartening.
    It did open my eyes to how these elements can actually stunt and halt meaningful discussion and progression though.
    (And made the US elections that much harder to watch)

    Gonna grab my popcorn and see how this one plays out over the next few weeks.

      You're spot on, this isn't progress, this is regression.

      And as far as the US election goes, the left were responsible for Trump's victory, not some tiny section of society who would vote for purely racist and sexist reasons. Every time they act this way, they push reasonable people further away from their corner.

        There is no left or right, those responsible forgot that and got swept away in a dirty fight between two very bad choices.

        The ways it's been repeated in elections around the world is tiresome and sadly you can already see the targeted influence here.

        All that was done was to give us new phantoms to hate, as happens every time we become disillusioned with the corruption and greed of government and corporation.

          It's just terrifying how much influence these individual power groups have over the "real" world now though. Online, the Left rules mainstream publications with an iron fist (one only needs to see the close-minded comments actual editors of Polygon were making on their story for this situation for proof of that), and offline, the Right still holds power over things like gun control in America and marriage equality here.

          The reasonable middle need to get just as zealous about level-headed solutions to society's problems as the extremes are about their self-serving ones. We're at the top of a very slippery slope.

            Very true.
            Political science at its core reveals that the majority of people unknowingly tend to align to centre or just off, the liberal and conservative groups are second and much smaller and the fringe groups tend to rarely get a hit.

            The part that's hard to keep in mind is politicians have been playing the game a long time and have gotten very good at it.
            While they mottle about in rhetoric and conflict, the money flows freely and quickly.
            Now we get the populists, waving banners of false ideals, shaking the hands of the same damn people as their predecessors, and we lap it up.

            My GOD I've become so cinical of the system and its pageantry xD

              I find it harder to hate people who are smartly leveraging the ignorance of others. At least they have taken the time to understand the issues and the way people feel about them. The people I can't stand are the ones who view everything at face value and are content to dig their heels in at the first opinion they land on.

              I think being calculating is far less damnable than being content to not grow.

                Well done on a good, progressive conversation, sticking to the core concepts and arriving at a rather enlightening result. I enjoyed reading it :)

        'I VOTED FOR NAZIS BECAUSE FEMINISM'

        Yeah nah mate. 'The Left' didn't make stupid people vote stupidly.

        Goodness me, if I had a dollar for every time I watched a right wing whinger claim they were a 'reasonable centrist' I'd have $5,345.

        The mistake you're making is that you're assuming 'reasonable' is synonymous with 'majority view', something that is quite far from the truth indeed. If these people were 'reasonable' they'd have applied the reasoning capabilities of anyone over the age of 5 and worked out that a crooked failed billionaire would unsurprisingly not be 'on the side of the common folk'.

        But instead they fell for the fantasy narrative that the world is under siege by POLITICAL CORRECTNESS GONE MAD, something that again, someone with the reasoning capacities of a 5 year old can tell is not the case as us white males certainly aren't living in feminist concentration camps.

        No, not the fault of 'the Left'. The fault of awful people.

        If you weren't too busy consuming online videos for your information, I'd suggest you correlate age demographics and voting trends and work out the rather obvious result of what happens in a society when it has an aging population.

        Last edited 14/06/17 6:34 pm

          Oh boy I was wondering when ol' "reasonable discussion is overrated" Burnside would show up. If you're through perfectly proving my point and bragging about your ability to outsmart 5 year olds, I'll respond to your comment in the hopes any of it will sink in.

          Trump is not a Nazi, he is American ideals followed to their extremes. You cannot become President of the United States on a NAZI platform. I know it helps your hysterical, absurd position to believe that an entire 21st century first world nation would knowingly vote for a platform based on hate, but the reasons people vote are a tad more nuanced than that. People do pretty consistently vote against their best interests though. Most of the time it comes down to who has the best marketing (further highlighting the dire need for the Left to quarantine close-minded people like yourself, lest you become the face of "progressiveness").

          I never said that people in the middle were the majority, but they are certainly more numerous than the loud and incandescent extremes that dominate the current discourse. The middle are those who can look at comments like yours and see a scared, angry minority, laugh at the parallels to their mirrored right equivalent, and move on. The middle is not a numerical reference but a ideological one. The middle isn't not picking a side, it's about not picking a side before the question has even been asked. It's about not embracing dogmatic thinking and behaviour.

          I guess my question to you is, what DOES an acceptable middle look like to you? That's not a rhetorical question, because right now you're essentially making the claim that unless you're Left you must be Right.

          You're also making the claim that awful people are the majority of people in America, you know, the majority that voted in a president that pretty much everyone agrees is the worst. It's not just the fault of awful people that he won, it's the fault of people like Hillary Clinton and the fault of people like yourself. People who assume that just because they are right that they no longer have to make their case. People who presume to vilify those who are in the wrong instead of listening to them and re-educating them.

          What we have right now is an older population who was born and raised in a different time, in a different economy, and with different values. Of course there's a correlation between their generation and a divergence in voting habits from the younger generation. They are voting for the world that was, we are voting for the world that will be.

          I used to try to reason with people like you, but you won't change. You'll keep lashing out like a wounded beast at enemies and allies alike, and then blame anyone but yourself when you don't get what you want. Being right is not enough. You must convince others you are too. And you're a long, long way away from doing that.

    Actually just watched The Last Night's trailer. That looks fucking SICK!

    extreme left vs extreme right, just like the tagline of AvP.. whoever wins, we lose.

    God damn, people are stupid.

    Game looks sweet.

    The internet Left should run "Shooting One's Self In One's Foot" classes; no point letting all that expertise go to waste.

    So over this internet trench warfare shit.

    Since it's come out, people have naturally been trying to spin the game as having an anti-progressive message based on that synopsis. And it's true, the world it describes (post-labour, universal income, etc) sounds like a lot of left-leaning people's (myself included) idea of a utopia.

    But I reckon that's what makes it interesting. We've seen a million fascist dystopias in fiction, I'm interested in the idea of criticising and deconstructing that kind of world. Plus, for people who still buy into Gamergate v. anti-GamerGate rhetoric shit, it would be the perfect opportunity to stake the high ground. Whenever a GG-er criticises a game that includes diversity for being "political", the other side is quick to shout that they only have a problem because it goes against *their* politics. Well now you have a game that might be going after *your* politics, you have the perfect opportunity to show you're not a hypocrite by saying "I'm open to this, I will give it a go and I will reserve judgement until I've played it." It would show Mister GamerGate a thing or two.

      But I reckon that's what makes it interesting.

      Exactly. We haven't actually pushed these seemingly good ideas to their conclusions. There's a very real risk a widespread societal depression from the removal of traditional forms of "work". Some people are built to holiday 24/7, but others would go insane without structure in their lives. A whole bunch of relationships would end, that's for sure. Not to mention a person's work environment is often where they fulfil several of the levels of Maslow's Hierarchy Of Needs.

      And you're spot on with your second paragraph too. Too often these extreme left "progressives" adopt an eye-for-an-eye mentality when it comes to these issues. "The president is a bigot, so fuck you for telling me to accept others' points of view" is a comment i've seen way too often.

    I feel like this is a complete "nontroversy" due to poor communication.
    His statement about being an egalitarian as opposed to a feminist, seems similar to many others that support equal rights, but have seen too much of toxic fringe feminism (the ones that promoted the KillAllMen & MaleTears hashtags) that has sullied feminism as a whole.
    As for his GamerGate comment, is it so hard to think that he just truly believed the movement was "for journalistic integrity, honest debate, transparency, inclusiveness, & egalitarianism" and has since changed his mind?

      As for his GamerGate comment, is it so hard to think that he just truly believed the movement was "for journalistic integrity, honest debate, transparency, inclusiveness, & egalitarianism" and has since changed his mind?
      The Internet has a long memory, particularly when it comes to character assassination (eg: Gizmodo US's weird obsession with Palmer Lucky). It's easy to forget that there was a genuine contingent of people who were interested in alleged links between journalists and developers. But that's easy to forget when it was hijacked by a bunch of morons out for blood and to push their bigoted views.

      End result: ridiculous Internet argument to decide who is literally Hitler... or something.

        The Internet has a long memory, particularly when it comes to character assassination (eg: Gizmodo US's weird obsession with Palmer Lucky).
        The guy who got shit just for donating to Trump? Not just Gizmodo. If I remember the Verge also posted an article trying to tease him for his Quiet cosplay.
        And just seeing what's happening with Laci Green currently is reminding me that there are really shitty people out there that'll attempt to stain you just for being open to dialogue about opposing opinions.

          He got more shit for lying about his donations and making thinly veiled attempts to hide them while telling everyone he wasn't doing it. Fewer people would have cared if he'd been honest about it.

          Sidenote, I've been following the Laci Green thing with interest lately. I've quite enjoyed her coming out as open to new ideas regarding ideologies. I believe wether people think she's doing it for clicks or not, she's displaying an emergent knowledge of the issues at hand, rather than sticking herself firmly in an extremist side. By embracing both sides to a degree, allowing them both an open platform to speak, then constructive a base of knowledge through that, Laci has definitely earned my respect far more than some have (Mundane Matt, though I have enjoyed some videos, has repeatedly shown himself to be extremely limited in his views for example, yet someone like Chris Raygun, despite being a bit extreme, seems open to dialogue for example). In that sense, I'm finding all this extremely interesting.

            Barely relevant to the topic, but holy shit dude, the drama around Green and her dating Chris has been delicious. Just fantastic. I wish them the best.

              I did say 'sidenote' ;) So make it as barely relevant as you like. As I always do ;)

              Good on Chris, he's damn entertaining and I love his shows he does. Well done to them both :D

              Doesn't it make you feel good to know 'love won out in the end' lol

                Yeah I know, I know, but it's such an interesting topic and I have literally no friends who have any idea who those people are.

                I only discovered Chris recently and I binged his last year of videos. His sense of humour seems tailor made for me. As for Laci... well I can't say I I've sought out her videos, but win recent events in mind I might start paying attention.

                They're like a modern day Romeo and Juliet, except less suicide (hopefully?).

                  Laci got pretty annoying to be honest. I don't deride anyone delving into feminism, however she did go to the extreme of it unfortunately with some of her material (usually evidence of someone who doesn't weigh up both sides, examine the issues fairly and then decide where to go from there), where in my opinion the rancid sort reside. In more recent times though she's definitely done that, the weighing up of all sides, which I heartily applaud her for. She doesn't have to 'give up' being a feminist as some morons have said, but her opening her eyes to issues present and relevant to both sides lead her to something that escapes most people on both sides, that of enlightenment.

            Your comment about this made me check it out. Very interesting, she's delivering a very fair and open-minded position. I didn't watch really any of her stuff before but I know she had the reputation of someone who was pretty dogmatic in their thinking. Maybe it was just people saying the worst about her.

              Shes gone from being rather closed minded to becoming one of the more well informed people to pay attention to thats for sure.

    It's not surprising people may not want to support work that comes from participants of what they view as a hate movement.

    Last Night is definitely going to be one of those games that I wait a long while after release before even considering, and that's assuming I would be willing to separate art from artist. This is partly due to the terrible description of the game, which appears antithetical to the themes of cyberpunk and isn't within the remit of post-cyberpunk - it's possible there will be some interesting subversion and/or deconstruction present, but I'm not expecting anything great.

    I'd caution patience on this matter because of how little is known; the standing of both creators and game will be immediately apparent upon release.

      At least it isn't yet another "1984 but with better tech" or "big corp right guys lol."

      We know little about it. Honestly it seems like some people are more interested in attacking the dev because the game may critique the far left. Who cares if it isn't traditional cyberpunk?

        Looks like some people are pissed about the premise of a dystopian world brought about by the success of progressive politics, but the majority are caught on the dev's past associations and how that my influence this work.

        Anyone who cares about genre and aesthetic. Saying something is post-cyberpunk because there are neon lights and elements of techno-futurism is lazy.

          Would anyone care if he wasn't at E3? People have dredged things up from 2014 for the sake of character assassination, and adding in a bit of thoughtcrime for 'progressivism gone wrong' just a add to the fire of hate.

          What, specifically, has he said that was so hateful? The Twitter screen caps I've seen so far were "Can I use Vivian James in a game?", a tweet about the game's content, and how he rejected feminism in favour of egalitarianism. Genuinely curious to see why people hate him so much outside of some connection to GG.

            Yes, they likely would. It seems quite a few people are still wary of anyone who was pro-gamergate.

            Most of the current disdain for the dev does appear to be from that connection. There's also the usual takes on the progressive/conservative dynamic.

            Dev shouldn't be strung out over this, people are going to be wary of their history but that shouldn't lead to a shitshow.

      While I get your hesitance, I hope you're selective with your movies, tv and music too. More than a lot of celebrities have views that will collide with yours and grate against yours. If you boycott one that strikes hard against your morals, the question is, should you boycott all, or just be selective towards those that make it popular in the media? This isn't a personal attack and it's not going to de-evolve into my trying to tell you why you're wrong, I'm just curious as usually I'm able to seperate the artist from the product personally and never have gone to that extent, it's a legitimate question so please don't take it as the former.

      Last edited 14/06/17 8:58 am

        Where I'm aware of an artist's personal views or actions that clash with my personal ethics or morality, I'll consider multiple factors and sources that will inform me as to whether I'm willing to support the artist, their work in spite of them, or any other number of configurations, including the idea of separating the art from the artist. It's usually no small thing for me to look at an artist and completely discard their work; it is generally in response to something particularly egregious. The important thing is that the framework changes and adapts with time and circumstance, my decision to boycott an artist or piece is likely to be reviewed and isn't absolute.

        It's better not to read this scenario as me taking a hard pass on the game because of the dev's presumed political views. Rather, I have access to more games than I could ever play and yet another potentially, maybe, possibly not bad game is moved to the consideration pending pile because I'm neither enthused about it nor the dev's opinions, which themselves are moved into a consideration pending pile.

          Ta thanks for the answer :) definitely food for thought for people :)

    Seriously can't get over how good it looks. Can't help but be suspicious this seems to be the only article on it so far.

      Other media outlets are probably being overly cautious because they convinced themselves that supporting anything that has word GamerGate in it is basically career suicide.

    Hell I cringe every time I see what I posted on this day five years ago on Facebook. I'm almost a completely different person to past Simocrates and I dare say in another two or three years I'll be different again.

    I miss when we could just enjoy video games instead of digging up what someone said in the past and making everything political so that we can get offended on the internet

    "I'm against feminism. . . I am for egalitarism. I don't care, boy, girl, alien,"

    Wait, this is the "bad" thing he said??

      Anything that goes against the regressive left (or regressive right for that matter) is usually raged against, always remember, apologies don't mean shit, they're just a public way to ensure sales happen. They still have their beliefs, it's just a way of placating the masses and making them feel like they 'won' while they ultimately shell out the dollars...

    Wow, could you imagine living in a world where saying "I am for the equal treatment of all people" would make you hated? Gee, I sure am glad that we don't live in a world like that. I sure am glad that different people can express different opinions without being mass downvoted until they get stuck on a moderation list for the 6th time.

    It's foolish for a private individual express their political opinions in such a public and permanent setting.

    I was waiting, just waiting for the inevitable Kotaku article on this, and sure enough, Kotaku delivered.

    The punchline here is that he didn't participate in harassment, he didn't say anything offensive (YMMV of course, but that really depends on what you think "feminism" means in 2014+) but he was nonetheless pressured into apologising for his comments. The other punchline is nobody believes his apology anyway, so this was all pointless.

    Buy the game if it looks good or is up your alley. Don't if it doesn't/isn't. It's not hard.

    My favourite part about these articles is watching the usual team of suspects whinge and moan about the REGRESSIVE LEFTIST FEMINIST OUTRAGE MACHINE as you all get triggered again by one of these articles and Kotaku counts the clicks all the way to the bank.

    If only we could harness the power of you saddos being unable to detect the hypocritical irony in order to generate renewable energy for the nation.

      What else can you call this other than " the REGRESSIVE LEFTIST FEMINIST OUTRAGE MACHINE"? These guys dug through his past tweets to try and find something on him. What they found wasn't even necessarily bad.

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