“I’ve always liked Sandra Bullock…”

Gravity“I’ve always liked Sandra Bullock”, said the world of cinema upon flocking to cinemas to see Alfonso Cuarón’s sci-fi ‘magnum opus’, Gravity, elevating that to a vocal scream once she was robbed of a Best Actress Oscar at the 86th Academy Awards.  “I think that with her role in Gravity finally has the role to show her acting chops”, they all said.

They seemed to have forgotten that she had previously won best actress for The Blind Side only a few years before.

“I’ve always liked FromSoftware”, said the world of video games upon playing Demon’s Souls, upon obsessing about Dark Souls, and upon heaping caveated praise on Dark Souls II.  “I think that they’ve finally found their niche” they all said.

They seemed to have forgotten that FromSoftware had been a successful developer, most notably of the Armored Core series, since 1986.

Sandra Bullock has always been likeable, the problem was she hadn’t featured in the kinds of productions the film-going bourgeois talked about in pretentious riddle, gleefully taking hipster pride in oblique discussion about scripts that already make little obvious sense.  I think Two Weeks Notice is a delightfully entertaining romantic comedy, that Speed is an adrenaline fuelled action film, and that The Blind Side is a pretty good feel good sporting drama.  Sandra Bullock has always been a respectable and entertaining actress, but she was never speaking to the audience that hold the reigns of that pop culture discussion, or at she wasn’t least until the high grossing sci-fi epic hit and captured the imagination of even the harshest of film critics.

As someone who has casually enjoyed the long-running Armored Core series, who was partial to Ninja Blade, and who enjoyed 3D Dot Game Heroes as a Zelda layman, I can say with some level of certainty the same holds for the well-aged japanese developer.  FromSoftware has always been workmanlike in its development efforts, and because of that, I’ve always found its work to be at worst endearing and at best flawed masterpieces.  Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls may have appealed to the latent desires of fans of brutally difficult role-playing games, but it wasn’t a rebirth of the storied developer, rather a stroke of luck that saw them gain respect of even the most hardened game fan.

It’s an odd comparison, but for both Sandra Bullock FromSoftware, it’s the curse of being under the watchful eye of often ridiculously insular but judgemental pop culture circles that has seen them not really gain critical respect until they push out a product that resonates with the tastemakers, with the illuminati. It’s weird that the opinions of others adds an air of legitimacy and respectability to artists across all mediums, but it’s a fact of life, and one that rules both industries even if from behind the scenes.

And it shouldn’t.  With Gravity and the Souls series respectively earning them the kudos of the internet, on both counts being received with orgasmic delight, a greenlight was effectively given to follow with interest and await their next release.  But it shouldn’t have taken appealing to the right people to get there.  I’ve always liked Sandra Bullock.  I’ve always respected FromSoftware.  Difference is I didn’t need to be told that’s okay.  And nor should you.DarkSouls2