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Default Cyberpunk 2077 - Mike Pondsmith on Politics in Games

June 29th, 2020, 00:53
Twinfinite reports on a panel attended by Mike Pondsmith where he was asked about politics in games and his vision for Cyberpunk 2077.



That being said, what we have a tendency to do now is to say "it's not political" unless it's lining up with our politics, and that's part of the problem. It's that people see it as a tool or a weapon to be used with or against their own personal beliefs.

I tend to look at it as "freedom is important" not for the area of the people involved, but in a society or indeed a civilization. Freedom allows a civilization to get checks, balances, to grow, to learn from its mistakes.

That's part of the foundational elements I see in politics in a game.

Along with that, I've also said that if you want somebody to see your point of view, you really have to stop preaching. When you preach at people and they don't find it out themselves what happens is invariably they shut down because you're now threatening what they see. They say "you're wrong and my way is right."

You may not be right or only partially right and that's when you need to be able to talk to other people and find out what's right for a lot of people. If you preach you don't get there. You're just basically giving your side of the statement and it never seems to work that way.

What I believe is that the way to do politics in games it should be something that occurs in the game but doesn't necessarily have a visible agenda.

At no point does anybody in Cyberpunk come up and go "you should follow this belief structure." What they're saying is "There's this situation here. This is not a world designed to promote your life and livelihood and your friends and your neighborhoods, and anything that you care about."

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June 29th, 2020, 08:43
Pondsmith is a wise man.
A ton of people in games media should listen to him. Preaching indeed does not work, only pushes people away.
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June 29th, 2020, 12:30
Mike pretty much foresaw what is happening now in world politics and NWO.
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June 29th, 2020, 15:10
"Follow this viewpoint"
and
"There’s this situation here. This is not a world designed to promote your life and livelihood and your friends and your neighborhoods, and anything that you care about."

Are hoping for the exact same result. They are both preaching. One is just more eloquent about it.
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June 29th, 2020, 15:14
Originally Posted by TheSHEEEP View Post
Pondsmith is a wise man.
A ton of people in games media should listen to him. Preaching indeed does not work, only pushes people away.
$600/yr billion spent on advertising would say it must be working to some extent.
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June 30th, 2020, 01:23
Particularly in politics, but also in general, there are still a lot of people who think they have the right to tell how others what is the right way to think, live, look, dress, sleep with, and in which positions. Luckily, this century they stopped being the ones in charge, so the best thing to do is just ignore them.

It's like those who cry in rage when there is a strong-willed female or black character in a movie or game because it's done in the name of modern social justice and equality. Perhaps it is done in the name of allowing others than standard caucasian white heterosexual males to also feel identified and relate to the movie/videogame they love and its characters, because the world isn't anymore about caucasian white heterosexual males.

There was a time when you could burn in the town square anyone who didn't think like you or you just didn't like by saying they were heretics, or witches. Times change. Get used to it.
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June 30th, 2020, 03:10
"That being said, what we have a tendency to do now is to say "it's not political" unless it's lining up with our politics, and that's part of the problem. It's that people see it as a tool or a weapon to be used with or against their own personal beliefs."

I expect a lot of double speak on political topics and this is why. People employ their virtue to disguise their hate of different people/ideas/beliefs etc.
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June 30th, 2020, 03:54
Originally Posted by Nereida View Post
Particularly in politics, but also in general, there are still a lot of people who think they have the right to tell how others what is the right way to think, live, look, dress, sleep with, and in which positions. Luckily, this century they stopped being the ones in charge, so the best thing to do is just ignore them.

It's like those who cry in rage when there is a strong-willed female or black character in a movie or game because it's done in the name of modern social justice and equality. Perhaps it is done in the name of allowing others than standard caucasian white heterosexual males to also feel identified and relate to the movie/videogame they love and its characters, because the world isn't anymore about caucasian white heterosexual males.

There was a time when you could burn in the town square anyone who didn't think like you or you just didn't like by saying they were heretics, or witches. Times change. Get used to it.
Well said but but be careful what you preach.

I love the saying "Hell is paved with the best intentions."

Also "Whoever fights with monsters should see to it that he does not become a monster in the process. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you."

Or simply intolerance works both ways not one.
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June 30th, 2020, 10:06
I think that anyone who thinks that changes in movie or videogame industry will have world-changing impact will be sorely disappointed. Hoping to solve deep and unattended socio-economic disbalances of our world this way is like hoping to solve AIDS with Aspirin.
But definitely its easy to do and its well visible - thats exactly what politics are into these days.
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June 30th, 2020, 17:32
That's a strange argument, no matter how many times I hear it: "It does not have world-changing consequences, so it's not good." What are you waiting for? A magical fairy offering you to solve all of mankind's problems with one wish? Would that be acceptable for you? Or would it not because there might be problems other planets have and that wish would not solver theirs? So, instead let's wait for the galaxy-wide problem solving magical fairy? But what about other galaxies…?

Yes, such changes only are small improvements, as random example a few million gamers will feel a tiny bit better because more games include characters with whom they can identify, too, instead of the usual male, white hero cliche. Even if we believe this is not a world changing thing, it's still a small step in the right direction.

There is not one step that will take you to the end by itself. But many, many, many small steps might. And the big advantage these steps have: We can start doing them today. The magical fairy is unfortunately on vacation, sorry about that.
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June 30th, 2020, 17:52
Well, the idea that entertainments like movies can't have a hugely significant impact is definitely wrong. The movie The Day After is a good example:

President Ronald Reagan watched the film more than a month before its screening, on Columbus Day, October 10, 1983. He wrote in his diary that the film was "very effective and left me greatly depressed," and that it changed his mind on the prevailing policy on a "nuclear war". The film was also screened for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. A government advisor who attended the screening, a friend of Meyer's, told him "If you wanted to draw blood, you did it. Those guys sat there like they were turned to stone." Four years later, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty was signed and in Reagan's memoirs he drew a direct line from the film to the signing.
That level of direct impact is probably rare, but I do think that, in aggregate, entertainment media has a significant effect on the cultural mind.

I'm not entirely clear on what Pondsmith is saying here, but I definitely agree that preachy writing is bad writing. It's possible to have a point of view in the work, while also having some nuance and complexity.
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June 30th, 2020, 18:10
If anyone wants apolitical games, I can suggest Pong. Maybe Tetris, but it's a stretch.
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June 30th, 2020, 18:13
Originally Posted by Cacheperl View Post
If anyone wants apolitical games, I can suggest Pong. Maybe Tetris, but it's a stretch.
No pong is racist because it uses only black and white, and Tetris hates any shapes other then blocks. This is sarcasm but see what can happen if you think about it.

Anyone can fit anything to an agenda.
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June 30th, 2020, 19:40
Originally Posted by Irian View Post
That's a strange argument, no matter how many times I hear it: "It does not have world-changing consequences, so it's not good." What are you waiting for? A magical fairy offering you to solve all of mankind's problems with one wish? Would that be acceptable for you? Or would it not because there might be problems other planets have and that wish would not solver theirs? So, instead let's wait for the galaxy-wide problem solving magical fairy? But what about other galaxies…?

Yes, such changes only are small improvements, as random example a few million gamers will feel a tiny bit better because more games include characters with whom they can identify, too, instead of the usual male, white hero cliche. Even if we believe this is not a world changing thing, it's still a small step in the right direction.

There is not one step that will take you to the end by itself. But many, many, many small steps might. And the big advantage these steps have: We can start doing them today. The magical fairy is unfortunately on vacation, sorry about that.
World is raving about symptoms, while once again remains blind to core of the problem. What would anybody expect to get from system that for decades ignores proper investments into education or medical care for poor and for minorities? For decades there were growing separated and incompatible worlds and somebody now expects to magically heal that from above through movies and videogames?

Waiting for magical fairy? What else it is once again applauding to populists who offer easy solution, instead of asking for real education/medical care/etc. reforms?

Just to be clear, Im not disregarding impact of cultural changes, but it will mean no improvement of life for uneducated masses of people with limited access to medical care. So while solving problems from above, lets also put those feet on ground for a while as well.
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