Forspoken’s Dialog Debate Exposes a Bigger Pop Culture Divide
Written by on January 25, 2023
Depending on which social media bubble you’ve popped into recently, you may be under the impression that Forspoken‘s dialog is almost universally being ridiculed. However, that’s not true. There are many out there who genuinely enjoy the game’s writing and dialog style. Perhaps more importantly, there are seemingly many more people out there who are not necessarily defending Forspoken‘s dialog outright so much as they’re pointing out that it’s odd people are singling the game out for utilizing a dialog style featured in many other recent (and popular) works.
As the internet continues to argue about Forspoken‘s dialog (try to be surprised), it’s becoming clear that this debate is really only partially about the game itself. Yes, there are those who simply think that Forspoken’s writing just isn’t that good, but the evolving debate around the game really exposes a greater divide over the popularity of that snarky kind of meta dialog that really has come to dominate many forms of entertainment.
You’ve probably heard some form of this debate before. In recent years, Marvel fans and detractors have certainly been caught arguing over the MCU’s prolific use of quippy comedy dialog that often tries to make its characters seem cooler than the fantastical situations they find themselves in. It’s disingenuous to suggest that the MCU became more popular (or strictly better) through its use of such dialog, though that style has certainly become more popular since Joss Whedon and James Gunn heavily featured it in their respective MCU mega-hits: The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy. Whedon is actually often credited (or targeted) for inventing and popularizing that style of dialog, which isn’t actually true. Besides, there are more important things that people should be blaming Joss Whedon for.
No, the truth is that variations on this style of dialog have existed in some form or another for longer than any of us could accurately say. What’s most interesting about Forspoken is that it seems to have become a lightning rod for the growing fatigue and frustration with how overwhelmingly popular that style of dialog has become in recent years.
Some argue that’s due to the quality of the game’s writing, and some even suggest some of that animosity can be attributed to underlying malicious feelings regarding the race and gender of Forspoken’s protagonist. There is almost certainly some truth to those assertions in specific cases, though given the widespread reactions to other recent examples of that style of dialog, it felt like some piece of entertainment was inevitably going to become a lightning rod for this debate. If it wasn’t Forspoken, it might very well have been the upcoming Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves.
The truth of the matter is that there is always going to be some level of backlash against anything that’s popular. That backlash will only intensify as said popular thing becomes the new standard for a prolonged period of time. In this case, though, there is something to be said for how odd it feels that that quippy, disinterested style of dialog has become the standard given that it has historically been used to challenge and mock other standards.