“Get woke, go broke”.
It’s a mantra that you might see a lot of today, as there happens to be an idea floating around that making your product more appealing to the wider parts of society is a recipe for disaster. I mean, just look at Captain Marvel. Disney created a superhero movie with a leading lady who would totally be prettier if she smiled, and that film barely scraped in $1.1 billion globally.
See? Create something that appeals to may people and you’ll fail as miserably as Captain Marvel did. Video games are no stranger to this phenomenon, with many a game having all kinds of soy sauce running through its veins and resulting in disastrous titles being released to an indifferent audience. Here’s a look at six video games in particular, whose wokeness earned them nothing but rave reviews and massive sales success.
Mortal Kombat 11
The game: The sequel to one of the greatest fighting game franchises of all time, back and bloodier than ever as Earthrealm faces its greatest threat yet.
The wokeness: Urgh. You look at previous Mortal Kombat games, and you’d notice that these were titles that were proud to show a bit of skin. Princess Kitana and Jade may have looked like Baywatch models on a homicidal rampage, but they were sexy ass-kickers dammit. Now I have to stare at their curvaceous frames, covered up in more layers of fabric and their proportions dialled back to be more realistic instead of looking like they were ripped from the sleaziest anime shows around. TRAGEDY!
Do you know how difficult it is to find Jade attractive, now that she wears more layers to cover up the fact that she’s an undead zombie ninja with a figure to die for? No, I have no idea what the word necrophiliac means, let me go look it up quick while I whinge about female characters looking like actual people now instead of my page 3 stunner with a vapid personality to match
The broke aftermath: It’s still early days, but even with April sales that make for the best digital launch in the history of the franchise and the best-selling game for April 2019 overall, Mortal Kombat 11 is going to fail any minute now.
God of War
The game: The return of Kratos, five years in the making and featuring Sony’s greatest warrior painting an entire Nordic pantheon red with the blood of slain deities as he embarks on the most epic Bring Your Child To Work day that video games have ever seen.
The wokeness: Unline previous God of War games, there’s nary a sex ‘em up mini-game or low resolution nipple to be seen across all of the sprawling Nordic territory. Hell, it gets even worse for longtime fans as Kratos’ bloodlust has now been partnered up with gah character development and the pressures of fatherhood.
What makes matters even worse, is that Kratos no longer has a rich reservoir of emotions to draw from, as his tank of rage, fury and anger now gives way to a more realistic and sullen man who shows compassion and struggles to connect with his son in a game that’s both God of War and Dad of Boy.
The broke aftermath: Proving that real gamers want blood, Greek god tiddies and to be able to connect axes with troll heads rather than their emotions with a son who yearns for approval from his distant father, God of War only managed to stay at the top of various sales charts for several weeks, shifting a mere ten million copies a year after it launched according to Sony. Compounding on that failure, were numerous reviews that praised the game for its rich tapestry of design, narrative and character development, with many a website calling God of War one of the definitive games of this generation.
Oh how the mighty have risen to glorious new heights and set a benchmark that few games can hope to reach let alone surpass.
The game: Blizzard’s first new IP in many a year when it launched in 2016, Overwatch is an energetic team-based shooter where every person on your squad has a role to play and a chance to be a hero thanks to a wide and varied roster.
The wokeness: In an attempt to create a more diverse selection of characters, Blizzard decided to add a socially progressive agenda that completely ruins my fan fiction of Tracer falling in love with me because she’s a lesbian. And she’s not the only one. Soldier 76, my dad role model, is gay. They declared that Symettra is autistic and they made Bastion gender neutral.
It’s almost as if Blizzard wants a massive cast of characters to be more representative of human culture as a whole instead of catering just to my whims and mine alone. It’s not as if women play video games, that’s just a myth circulated by the left-wing media who want to destroy Star Citizen…right?
The broke aftermath: Overwatch barely managed to be seventh highest selling game by revenue (excluding Battle.net sales) in the United States of America for all of 2016, scraped in a mere billion dollars in overall revenue for Blizzard by Q1 2017 and log a piffling 40 million players by May 2018. Because remember, the only benefit to going woke and creating a quality video game at the same time is massive success and rave reviews while building up a dedicated community of fans who’ll support your game for years to come. Wait, did I miss something here?
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
The game: World War 2 was over, the Axis forces had swept across the globe and America was about to get a taste of German culture in a brave new world where history had been rewritten.
The wokeness: Sure, previous Wolfenstein games may have been all about killing Nazis, but the marketing for Wolfenstein: The New Colossus seemed to suggest that maybe a parallel universe full of jackbooted soldiers from a divergent path in history weren’t good guys at all. I’m no expert in PR, but maybe advocating violence against an oppressive culture of thugs who wished for nothing more than to shove people of different ethnic backgrounds and religions into horrifying concentration camps where they’d be slowly murdered in the name of a madman who dropped out of art school, was a touch too on the nose.
After all, Nazis are people too! Horrible, overzealous monsters whose influence has been reawakened inside of contemporary politics and has seen a surge in nationalist alt-right figures who find themselves under fire from milkshake-toting liberals. Why can’t history see these lie-spewing figureheads who advocate for a future based on hate as the people that they really are, instead of bullet sponge targets for a soft-spoken proponent for human dignity and equality?
The broke aftermath: Knowing full well that Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus would probably crash and burn on release, Bethesda instead decided to focus on selling the game over a longer period of time instead of the all mighty first week release period where winners are born. The result? A polished and personality-driven video game whose sales only managed to reach more than 1.36 million players over the course of several months, frequently popping up as a popular choice during many a sale over the duration of its lifetime.
Far Cry 5
The game: The Far Cry formula, transplanted in the heartland of America and featuring your survival skills up against a militia of religious fanatics who want to save the world from a looming nuclear apocalypse.
The wokeness: See, here’s where I draw the line, because anyone who played Far Cry 5 knows that Joseph Seed was actually right all along. So what if he decided to drug people into a stupor, broke their wills and forced them to kill in the name of a god that he believe in? Isn’t that what religion is all about? But no, Ubisoft had to make fanatical Christian cults with a boner for violence look evil, suggest that extreme ideologies may be to blame and ignore calls for the American Christian villains to be recast as more standard Muslim villains.
Oh, and the game even asked you if you wanted to be a man or a woman. I FEEL LIKE I’M TAKING CRAZY PILLS.
The broke aftermath: Ubisoft was warned to change the content of their game mere weeks before release, but the French company didn’t listen and paid the price. A price that made Far Cry 5 Ubisoft’s best-selling game of the current console and PC generation, way ahead of anything else that the company produced over the last couple of years…Okay, who messed with my notes again? Guys this joke is getting real stale now.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
The game: The glory of ancient Greece, the mystery of another civilisation that pre-dated humanity and a quest to secure a legacy that would shape the destiny of mankind over millennia in a massive sandbox of intrigue and action.
The wokeness: Y’know, it was all well and good to travel across ancient Greece and engage in a rich story, even if said story allowed girls to get in on the action and strike up romances with whoever caught their eye. Even if those romances were same sex, which was totally historically inaccurate for a video that allows you to discover ruins of a technologically advanced race who were struck down by a solar cataclysm in an age that predates recorded history.
What really stung, was how gamers got upset with the idea that their relationships had to take a backseat to the lore of Assassin’s Creed. That your story was swept aside, because anyone playing as Kassandra needed to realise that the tale that you had personally created meant nothing in light of the fact that you had to be an incubator for the next Assassin’s Creed character, sexual preferences be damned.
I don’t know why gamers got upset about that, it’s not as if Ubisoft lied about your player choice actually mattering in the grand scheme of things, went back on their word and then had to issue an apology when they were called out on this. The wokeness got so bad, that Ubisoft even re-engineered the ending so that it would once again return player agency to the enlightened, thus forever ruining Assassin’s Creed Odyssey for everyone who chose a different path. Obviously, I mean I can show you right here how your gameplay choices have made my experience worse.
Right after I get back from the corner cafe, because I need a pack of smokes.
The broke aftermath: You call shifting a pathetic 1.14 million units of the game in its first week a success, followed by lifetime sales that top the likes of previous games in the series such as Unity, Syndicate or even Origins, a success? Okay, fair enough, those are some good numbers.
The game: The conflict of World War The First, recreated in all of its grimy and horrific detail under the Frostbite engine.
The wokeness: Okay hang on a moment here. You want me to believe, that the manliest war of all time, had…female soldiers? You’ve clearly been smoking something and have gone to great lengths to create historically accurate documents that try to sell historians on the idea that the Russians created female-only battalions while numerous other women became legends during the war, because I just don’t believe you.
I mean how dare EA even allow people to play as female soldiers, thus completely ruining my personal immersion and the authenticity of war when I jump out of a biplane and use a rocket launcher to snipe a tank. Totally inaccurate stuff, shame on you EA, shame on you.
The broke aftermath: Ha! I told you this wokeness would backfire! Battlefield V completely missed its sales target, selling only a tiny amount of units . I’m sure 7.3 million units is tiny by today’s standard, even if I did fail maths in high school. The blame for this shortfall? Definitely on having optional female characters to play as in the game, and definitely not on the promised battle royale mode not being a priority at the time, wary gamers or the launch delay which catapulted Battlefield V into an especially competitive holiday season filled with numerous other big budget releases.
Last Updated: May 28, 2019