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Naughty Dog's Neil Druckmann calls out journalist Jason Schreier for Anne Frank joke

Schreier believes the game director holds a grudge against him after exposing the working conditions at Naughty Dog under Druckmann's supervision.

With reviews for the highly anticipated The Last of Us Part II hitting the internet over the past few days, there have been a few commentaries regarding Naughty Dog's game that the community has perceived as a bit hyperbolic.

One of them is a now-deleted tweet by actor Jeff Cannata that compared TLOU II's storytelling achievements to that of Schindler's List, the iconic Steven Spielberg film narrating the efforts of a Nazi businessman trying to save Jewish refugees during the Holocaust.

 

Neil Druckman Schindlers list last of Us II Jason Schrier joke anne frank
Neil Druckman (pictured) got into a Twitter spat with game's journalist Jason Schrier on the of Last of Us II release. (Picture: Naugty Dog)

 

Videogame journalist Jason Schrier was quick to point out that, for as much as a game manages unprecedented excellence in the writing department, comparing it to a film based on true events about a story set during a mass genocide, might be pushing it.

 

 

“Hyperbole is fun and all but if you're thinking about comparing the new zombie video game to a movie about the Holocaust mayyyyybe hit the brakes,” he tweeted out.

Naughty Dog's very own Neil Druckmann chimed in on Schrier's tweet that was made this past June 12th, trying to make sense of Cannata's original point.

 

 

“To me it’s clear that Jeff is comparing an emotional response between two pieces of media (not subject matter or importance.) I didn’t take it as direct comparison between our game and the holocaust itself (or even as a way to diminish the weight of that film.)”

Druckmann then added in a friendly manner the reason he intervened was to avoid people dogpiling on Cannata, continuing by saying The Last of Us II "doesn't hold a candle to Schindler's List."

 

 

“Your voice (Jason’s) carries a lot of weight. Your public comments about Jeff invite dog piling -- which I'm sure isn't your intention. But I experienced a lot of that these past few weeks and wanted to say something.”

It seemed the situation was defused right there and then. We were wrong, as, on June 14th, Neil publicly called out an "ironic joke" made by Schrier, mocking the original Cannata comparison using Anne Frank as an analogy.

 

 

The banter tweet by the former Kotaku reporter claims that the "BioShock's audio logs are a lot like the diary of Anne Frank," with Neil replying: "With all due respect, I find these kinds of ironic “jokes” to be unproductive at best. We can do better with critical discourse — especially by those of us with thousands of followers, and especially about sensitive subject matter."

Schrier didn't stay quiet and kept escalating things with his follow-up response. Feeling personally attacked, he implied the Naughty Dog big shot has a bone to pick with him after he published an expose about the crunch culture plaguing the company with Neil Druckmann in a position of power allowing it to happen.

 

 

“Hey Neil, this is weirdly personal. Still not sure why you feel the need to go after me multiple times for expressing that I felt an analogy was tacky. I sure hope it's not related to my recent reporting on your studio. Be well and best of luck on the launch.”

Cory Balrog, creative director at SIE Santa Monica, the developers behind the most recent God of War title, sided with his fellow colleague by expressing how Jason has expressed himself in an aggressive manner through this entire beef.

 

 

“Tweets are difficult to interpret nuance, but I have to say that lately you come across as a bit of a bully, Jason. I get that your bread and butter is tearing us down, but not everything is about your book or articles. Sometimes it is just about being decent to each other.”

Again, instead of backing out, Jason doubled down defending his line of work, stating journalists aren't "out to get" anyone in the gaming industry, rather those who exploit their workers.

 

 

“Wow, Cory. If by ‘us’ you mean ‘people in power who facilitate the overwork and exploitation of labor’ then sure, I'd be proud to say my bread and butter is tearing you down. If by ‘us’ you mean ‘game developers’ then that's nonsense and we both know it.”

The Last of Us II is set to release this next Friday, June 19th on PlayStation 4 after delays caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

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