Forspoken Opinions Should Not Be Part Of Your Personality

There are people out there on social media who have Forspoken profile pictures already. The game only came out today, but many have had these pictures for weeks, maybe months. I understand that it’s rare for a triple-A game to have a Black female protagonist, but these profile pictures are still part of a strange trend of people deciding they love things in popular media, whether they be video games or blockbuster movies, before they’ve even experienced them. It’s a worrying trend, and the other side is even worse.

Of course there are video games and movies I’m excited for this year. I’ve followed their development, watched clips or trailers, I’m familiar with some previous work from those involved, and I like the premise and potential of these new projects. It’s normal to feel anticipation for the next thing coming along – it’s this sensation that keeps the popular entertainment business alive. But deciding that you love something early on and sticking religiously to those guns, even to the point of getting into online fights about why others don’t love it as much as you do, is embarrassing.

But as I mentioned, not as embarrassing as the other side. It’s one thing to love a product sight-unseen. It’s a little naive and childish, and erodes our collective media literacy by turning everything into a sports game where you must pick art for your team and cheer it on regardless, but it’s mostly harmless. A lot of these people don’t get in the embarrassing online fights, they just embarrass themselves a little by constantly talking about how great a game they haven’t played is. The haters are so much worse.

Usually I’m Team Hater. I drink Haterade for breakfast. I think it’s important to be a rigorous critic, and that often means going against the grain and analysing flaws in popular storytelling, or at least trying to find purpose and theme while others cry ‘masterpiece!’ and walk away. But again, it’s not sports. You can’t just decide at the start and stick to that position despite a lack of any real experience or knowledge.

I have played around half of Forspoken (I didn’t write our review), and have not enjoyed it much. That clip doing the rounds on Twitter – ‘I just moved things with my freaking mind!’ – happens early, and I hated it. Nothing about the dialogue is particularly funny, it’s a stilted version of what we’ve heard a dozen times before, and nobody says ‘freaking’. We say ‘fucking’. However, for a lot of the game, Frey says ‘fucking’. She’s less giddy and excitable and more closed off and mean. It’s an interesting character direction, and some late/game clips are being shared which show this fresher take on Frey. However, nothing has changed.

These new clips have more realistic writing and show Frey as less of a walking catchphrase machine, and more of a grounded character we might care about. But you wouldn’t know that. Because we’ve already collectively decided that Frey and Forspoken suck, perfectly reasonable (dare I even say… good) clips of Forspoken are being held up and everyone is jabbing at them with pitchforks. I know everyone has different opinions, but here, they don’t. At least 85 percent of the replies, quotes, and reactions to Forspoken’s entirely reasonable clips has been the same abject mockery as the first, far worse clip got.

That’s because the clips themselves don’t really matter anymore. What matters is that Forspoken is bad. That’s part of your personality now. Saying that makes that little Like counter go up, makes your brain fire up that delicious serotonin generator. Who cares if it’s true? Who cares if you even believe it? This is your personality now. You hate Forspoken. And they love you for it.

I’m not interested in defending Forspoken. I don’t think it’s very good, but that’s based on having played the game for ten hours and seeing it in action. Even then, I can see why it lands for some people and it’s not without its charm. I don’t hate it. And I’m not going to pretend that every clip that comes my way is the worst piece of media I’ve ever seen to justify my position on the game. Whether you love or hate Forspoken, you should probably be asking yourself why you feel so strongly about a game you haven’t played. Not everything needs to become part of your personality.

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