The Insufferable Racism of Crysis 3, 2, 1, and Crytek
Welcome to the future son - Welcome to the war. The year is Twentywhatever, and you play Prophet, a towering, heroic, authentically voiced black guy. Your mission: Saving the world from an evil corporation (CELL) founded by dead white guys, run meglomanically by white guys, and staffed by military thugs who are predominantly if not exclusively mid-American white guys.
What can laughingly be called the ‘plot’ revolves around the fact you are wearing the last set of Magical Nanosuit Pyjamas, the key that opens all doors, in continuation from Crysis 2. Crysis 3 opens with said Uber-Blackguy, Prophet, explaining how he used the implicitly white guy from the previous game (Alcatraz, a thankfully mute protagonist) as a 'spare part’ for his own flesh and blood, by way of hiding in the nanosuit as a personality, and replacing his used up body when convenient. Great.
Crysis 3’s gameplay and storyline structure rests on 3 central tenets of fashionable liberal / anti-European thought:
The first is that patriarchal white males corporations are trying to enslave all people of colour humanity. Pretty obvious really. A big fuck-you to the target demographic.
The second is that not only are they trying to enslave all of humanity, but in their hubris, they are using a giant space alien to do this by using it as a convenient macguffin, and this is stupid, insane, and not a good idea at all! If it wasn’t for the authentically voiced black guy stopping CELL, the world would be destroyed, and it would be All. The Fault. Of the JewsWhites Corporations!!
The third is of course your Neo-Maori Compound Bow (which when first seen in the trailer, as has been observed elsewhere, fired dubstep); is far superior to the white man’s boomsticks and gee-whiz futuristic bullet-chuckers. Europeans, as everyone knows, have no culture worth speaking of, and ought to get out of the way for authentically voiced black guys with a proud tribal heritage and connection to all people of colour humanity.
The point here is that the race of the protagonist is being used, consciously or not, as a psychic weapon against European men. In the original Crysis, you were a white middle American 'special forces’ commando under the direct command of Prophet, the authentically voiced and at at that stage of the story arc, authentically faced black guy. Your squaddies along for the rider were Jester and Joker, both of whom appeared to been teleported directly from a Detroit basketball court into the game, commenting on the North Koreans 'motherfucking freeze ray’ (don’t ask). Why the inversal of racial demographics? Why make European Americans a minority in their own fucking game?
Because… like Michael / Psycho in Crysis 3, The Most British Man Ever, who is stripped of his nanosuit, in comparison to The Almighty Basketballing Negroes, whites are weak, pathetic and impotent. A European protagonist is dated, I hear the marketing departments cry. It’s just not believable in this day and age, say the diversocrats.
Crysis 2, interestingly enough, does an extremely good job of articulating the centre of the liberal neurosis about Europeans. As previously mentioned, CELL the Big Bad Corporation was founded by old / dead white males, and in Crysis 2 one of them makes an appearance as a major antagonist. Roger Hargreave, if I recall correctly. He is the best developed character in the game, and the games commentary on conservative whites through his characterisation is extremely revealing.
To wit: While in Crysis 1, Major Strickland the brash white army captain, dies for Freedom, Democracy & the American Way in fighting those Motherfucking Aliens, Roger Hargreave dies in the process of trying to rob you of your super suit. Hargreave invented the suit, designed it, built it through his corporation, and hoped to 'take on his [Prophets] armour’, reclaim his own property. The catch is that this involves skinning Prophet/Alcatraz/The Player like a cat, resulting in painful death. However, there is a deeper logic at play. Hargreave talks in analogies of Theseus and the Minotaur, of heaven, hells & purgatory. He is a man of morality & insight, commenting on the post-humanity of the soldiers yadda-yadda-yadda. In short: He is an explicit representation of a traditionalist as the game can make. QED, *despite* his good work in preparing the player for the alien invasion (by providing the only means to stop it, no less!) his commenting dryly on the 'festering dark heart’ of American Democracy and fondness for eternal rather than temporal truths means only one thing: He must be evil. Evil evil evil.
Tara Strickland, a loudmouth bitch of a character best represented as a recently videotaped redhead 'feminist activist’ in fatigues, yells at the player 'Hargreave is INSANE. He thinks he’s the only competent man on the planet.’ I can’t help but extrapolate this is the attitude of liberals and anti-whites to traditionalists: We don’t understand why you think you’re the most competent, so you must be insane. The deeper subtext still is that it’s OK for whites to invent clever things and hand them to people of other races on a global marketplace (Google Glass), but should whites try to retain any sort of racial monopoly on their own creations, this show of solidarity is verboten, evil, sick in the head; Akin to skinning The Player / Heroic Authentically Voiced Black Guy of his Supa-Suit (Honey, WHERE IS MY SOOPA SUIT?!) thus causing him/the player/people of colour unbearable pain.
As a player, I can overlook the liberal-bullshit meta-narrative that is unavoidably crowbarred into Every Fucking Game. I can overlook the science fiction plot so bad it could have been cobbled together out of bits of hamster playsets, AA batteries and toilet roll tubes. I can overlook it because I like to play as a hyperathletic cyborg that can alternate between being an invisible ninja and being a walking tank. I thoroughly enjoy the introspective silences Crysis 2 provides between the shootey bits, where I can run as a shimmer across rooftops, leap across cavernous gaps between apartment blocks, and hurl anonymous soldiers over ledges. It’s great fun.
However, the immersion is totally soiled when I have the voice of an Authentically Voiced Black Guy either giving me an order, or pretending to be me, The Player. I do not want to be a basketball twirling cyber-soldier from subsaharan Africa. Basketball is a very demanding sport, demanding perhaps enough to need a nanosuit for, but I am an Anglo/Italian mutt who aspires to be an engineer, not another cardboard cutout african chap in the never ending stream of 'positive portrayals’.
It’s a visible, intentional and offensive racial displacement of whites in their own goddamn industry - The videogame industry, which started in the basements and garages of dorky white guys, and remains lorded over by Gaben, a bearded European who collects swords in the same way a feudal lord would. Crytek and Crysis, by contrast, are determined to hold up a picture of a nano-suited future and say You, white boy, you do not exist or belong here except as a threat. So much as I enjoy monkeying around New York, Crytek, I’m afraid I’ve got point out that you’re insufferably racist.