Horizon Zero Dawn is Already Being Criticized For its “Feminist Agenda”
In recent years we’ve seen a rise in the number of games featuring a female protagonist, which is great, but this push towards greater representation in games has coincided with increased saltiness regarding diversity in the industry, which is not so great. With Horizon Zero Dawn receiving rave reviews ahead of its release, a spotlight has been placed on the game’s feminist themes by the typical band of self-described “anti-SJW” folk, so let’s go down this wormhole together.
I’ll preface this by noting that I haven’t actually played Horizon Zero Dawn, and therefore don’t know much about its story other than what I’ve heard second-hand from those who have. I know it stars a red-haired heroine called Aloy who is part of the Nora tribe, a matriarchal group that worships an omnipotent goddess they refer to as the All-Mother. I know that a large portion of its story is devoted to Aloy attempting to figure out who her mother is and the origin of the metallic beasts that roam the world, which were seemingly borne out of the cataclysmic event that sent humanity back to the quasi-Stone Age. I also know that there’s an implication that men were responsible for this event, which inevitably leads us to those currently expressing their frustration at the game’s concept.
The backlash started bubbling over on GamerGate’s unofficial subreddit KotakuInAction, which serves as a central hub for self-described “anti-SJWs,” with posts emerging from users criticizing reviews of the game (which they haven’t played yet) and its reportedly feminist plot. One of the top-rated posts on the subreddit has seen users stating that the game has received great reviews because of “virtue signalling” and not because of the quality of the game itself, which they know nothing about because, again, they haven’t played it yet.
Others criticized Ashly Burch’s involvement in the game, with her providing the voice work for Aloy. “The usual suspects are going to praise it to high heavens and give it all the good scores because they’re friends with Burch and various of the SJWs involved in making the game, but it’ll likely turn into “Virtue Signalling – The Game,” one user wrote. “SJW’s aren’t known for being good game designers. That’s why most of them end up making walking simulators or visual novels. Their intersectional feminism degrees didn’t provide them with the technical skills to actually create a game that a majority of people want to play,” another added.
Someone also posted a photo of their pre-order cancellation, citing The Guardian‘s comment that it was “the feminist action game we’ve been waiting for” as the reason behind their decision. Other users also stated that they were no longer going to buy the game as a result of its apparent feminism.
The general theme of these complaints is that Horizon Zero Dawn is going to be “another Ghostbusters,” meaning that it will focus too much its female characters and their feminism, something which makes them uncomfortable. Of course, those of us who actually watched Ghostbusters knows that the movie wasn’t an exercise in “man-hating,” and that the level of hatred it received was massively disproportionate compared to the content of the film itself.
Unfortunately, the negativity that routinely encircles games which dare to tackle political themes (aside from war, which is a-OK because those games feature a fuckton of men) is approaching once again, and will inevitably only increase when these folks actually play the game for themselves rather than just reading about it. It’s questionable that these are the kind of people who fight for developers’ creative freedom when it comes to Tracer’s backside or Dead Or Alive Xtreme 3‘s breasts, yet they’ll happily boycott a game if it doesn’t feature politics that align with their own, but udging by its high review scores, their inability to tolerate its feminism will cost them the chance to play one of the best games of the year thus far.