Thursday, July 10, 2008

David Hayter hates America and slept with Bin Laden!

Well...........not really of course.

The real reason I made that freaky sentence the title of this post has to do with a recent incident Mr. David Hayter had with video game site, Now for those who may not know, David Hayter is the voice behind Metal Gear Solid main character, Solid Snake. Hayter is also a screenwriter and helped do the screenplays for X-men 1 and 2 as well as The Scorpion King and the upcoming Watchmen film. The main focus here though is his work with Kojima Productions and the fact that he has been the voice of Solid Snake for all these years.

This past weekend the annual anime convention, Anime Expo, was held here in Los Angeles and Mr. Hayter appeared as a special guest speaker since has also done many anime voice overs as well as well as video game voice overs. During Mr. Hayter's panel, which had thousands of people show up to, a fan asked Mr. Hayter "Has there ever been anything you disagreed with (creatively), during the course of the Metal Gear games?". Mr. Hayter answered the question by sighting two different times he felt that he disagreed with how the series was written including the ending in MGS4. Mr. Hayter just voiced what he thought about how Snake acted out of character and that he would have had Snake act a little differently had he been the one to write the story.

Now thats all Mr. Hayter said. But thanks to the power of human stupidity and the internet, many people started reporting that Mr. Hayter had slammed Kojima and didn't like the Metal Gear series. Now of course people taking stuff out of content is nothing knew, but here is the real kicker folks. Popular video game info site reported what happened, but instead of just publishing the truth, they spinned it to make it sound like Mr. Hayter had a bone to pick with Kojima and crew. You can check out the article from 1up here.

Now after a few days of letting that boil and many fans now over reacting to the 1up article, Mr. Hayter actually sent a letter to telling them how he felt about their article and wanted to correct them on a few things. Check out that letter here.

Luckily, I got to meet Mr. Hayter before at the MGS4 signing a few weeks back and he really is a cool guy and did a few Snake lines in his voice for me and my friends. I see what Mr. Hayter was getting at with his Anime Expo comments and its really sad that took the story and made it sound like Mr. Hayter had some grudge against Kojima. Hopefully Kojima didn't see that article and Mr. Hayter didn't have to explain it all since that would be a bit awkward of course. None the less, I am glad to see Mr. Hayter defending what he said and writing a letter to 1up so they could try to straighten things out. 1up did respond to Mr. Hayter's letter of course which you can check out here.

Despite trying to sound apologetic, it still seems like 1up is still stabbing Mr. Hayter in the back and making it sound like the guy was being a ass for writing them a letter and calling them on their own shit. Go check it out for yourself and see what I mean. The person who wrote the response to Mr. Hayter's letter, who is the editor-in-chief of 1up, sure knows how to phrase things just right so that it seems like Hayter over reacted and that it wasn't their fault all this stuff is happening. Some very passive aggressive writing I must say.

Now the reason I bring all this up is that this isn't the first time gaming journalists have caused ripples in the video game community and its usually at the expensive of someone who actually works on making video games like Mr. Hayter. This past few years, more and more video game magazines and sites seem to be turning into the real news and taking comments out of context and creating mountains out of mole hills as the saying goes. I had honestly never thought the game industry would be faced with journalism such as this.

Some may say this is only a single case of bad journalism, but this has happened before actually. I wish I could dig through all the game sites out there for some more proof, but I will just give you folks to examples I have dealt with being in the game industry myself.

The first example I am going to show you folks actually deals with God of War creator, David Jaffe. Besides being a game designer and director, Mr. Jaffe is also a bit of a blogger as some may know. His blog usually has all sorts of interesting posts to read including what Mr. Jaffe things about current video games and the gaming community. If you head over to his site, you will see even recently he was posting his thoughts on video games that feature Marvel comic book character such as Spider-man. Now his post is very dead on about how the video game companies need to actually made a good comic book character game and stop with all the boring, repetitive games they have been spewing out as of late. Of course because he said this, the folks over at G4 thought this was news worthy for some reason and posted their thoughts on Mr. Jaffe's blog which you can read here.

Due to what G4 did, Mr. Jaffe got a ton of flaq for saying what he did and many people thought Mr. Jaffe hated Marvel for some reason. Of course Mr. Jaffe made a post about it all on his site and this caused G4 to tweak their original post as well so that it didn't make Mr. Jaffe look as bad as it did before. But the damage was still done by G4's original post that basically said Mr. Jaffe hated Marvel and Spider-man. So as you can see, gaming journalism is becoming just as sorted and trashy as real journalism. More and more game journalists seem to want to make things up to get readers or take things out of context so more people will buy their magazines or hit up their websites.

Another great example I was around for was back when the Playstation 2 game, Killzone, first come out several years back. With Halo and Halo 2 becoming the "it" games for the X-box, many had wondered how Sony would deal with these two power house FPS games. Was Killzone the answer? Nope, but game journalists sure made it out to be. Back before the game had come out, the American producers of the games were doing the usual media circuit and were interviewed by a few sites and magazines. Out of the blue one morning, several sites started posting that the producers were saying that Killzone was the "Halo killer" and that it was gonna rip a new one into the X-box. This of course caused the Killzone producers to freak out and started a rabid assault on a game that wasn't even out yet by Halo fanboys on several websites. Did the producers ever say anything like what the game sites reported? Nope, not in the least. Did the websites ever apologize for what they said or say who actually said those comments? Of course not.

Journalism to me is suppose to be reporting the facts and letting the masses know what is truthfully going on. Even video game journalism should be held to those standards, especially since there really isn't a whole lot to report to be honest. But of course, it seems game journalists seem to be following in footsteps of real journalists and now are publishing stories that will whip people into a frenzy, start some huge debate or even cause a rift between companies all so they can get a few more viewers on their sites.

Something many gamers may not know thought is that the video game industry is a very small and personal industry. Despite being spread out across the world, many people know each other, many people have to deal with each other and a lot of people will have to work with one another. So by slanding or doing bad reporting like some of these journalist have, it can cause lots of friction and or bad blood between people. So when stories like the Mr. Hayter incident pop up, Mr. Hayter has to worry about how it would effect his relationship with tons of people in the game industry including Kojima Productions and has to worry about how others in the industry will view him now.

Thats another reason why its bad that game journalists do this sort of thing. Bad reporting and blowing things up can really ruin people's loyalties, friendships and business partnerships. The power of the press is quaint amazing and hopefully these journalists don't go further down this rabbit hole because it could ruin many people's reputations and relationships in the industry. I think the normal press does that well enough to everyone else. I say we leave video game folks alone honestly.

It really has became sad that gaming journalism is coming down to this sort of thing though. There isn't a whole lot to the gaming industry and I never thought journalists would have to start pulling tricks like this to get readers. Many gamers trust video game sites and magazines and it just seems like they are using that trust for their own ends. I already wrote a post all about how corrupted game reviewers are getting and this just seems to be another reason to not trust video game journalists any more. Hopefully one day this will change, but probably not as long as people are greedy and journalists want attention.

O well, at least I have my little blog here. No one may read it, but at least I am not going gentle into that good night. I see what is happening to the game industry and it really is becoming a sad state of affairs. This may change in the future, but only time and lots of bad journalism will tell.

-P. Knight

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