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“A bucket of **** has content” – Why Jörg Tittel wants you to question the status quo in The Last Worker

The film director cum game designer explains his latest vision

Jörg Tittel is probably more well-known for his work in movies with strong political messages than he is for his video games. Stories like The White King, and shorts such as NYET! - a Brexit Border Farce, show his strengths when it comes to political commentary. He’s always been passionate about games, but a disastrous experience working with Activision saw him take a hiatus.

“I worked at Activision 20 years ago on a not-very-good game called Minority Report. It’s a terrible game, and all the stories you’ve heard about Activision? That’s true,” Tittel explains as I urge him to go into further detail. “I’m talking more about the general spirit of it all. You have people like Bobby the Hutt [CEO of Activision Blizzard, Bobby Kotick] running the show and then talking about how the U.K. [will] become ‘Death Valley’ because someone doesn’t want to shove his military entertainment complex bullshit down all the kids’ throats.

Jörg Tittel

Jörg Tittel

“We do not all need to play Call of Duty, and I’d be perfectly happy for it not to be on PlayStation. If it’s going to be, that’s fine too. It’s not an essential thing of nutritional value that we all need in our life.” 

The way that Activision worked pushed Tittel away from games for a number of years. Following this experience, he believed that all game development involved this highly critical level of management and generic templates.

“That scared me for a while because video games are supposed to be fun and creative and their future is going to be created in a cubicle hell, run by middle managers,” Tittel says. “I’d rather just take a step back from it and enjoy it as a consumer and as a fan because this is my love, and I don’t want it to be stained by corporate bullshit. I didn’t want my jolly dream, my fantasy of the video game industry, to be stained by something that just felt like an office job. I think video games are the greatest art form in the world. I think they are the ultimate art form. It is also the most democratic of art forms. It’s the one that invites collaboration and interaction.”

Jörg Tittel worked at Activision on Minority Report and they way the company worked pushed him away from games for quite some time.

Jörg Tittel worked at Activision on Minority Report and they way the company worked pushed him away from games for quite some time.

Tittel sees a lot of modern TV and cinema also going down a similar path. Many follow a similar formula, filled with superheroes and old pop culture references. And if everything is product, written to some focus-tested template, it’s not really art anymore, is it? It might as well be created by AI, he explains.” An AI could make the visuals in Stranger Things happen already,” he says. “It has the upside-down world from that film with Scarlett Johansson, and then it’ll have the scene in the beginning from Silent Hill when the snow comes down, and the town looks exactly the same because people like that too. And look at that creature, it looks like the one from Resident Evil. It’s all fucking in there.”

Tittel dreams of a future where originality wins out. People become bored of being spoon-fed the same meals, and a new entertainment golden age is ushered in. “Now maybe we just need to become more original than ever before,” he says. “I find that [idea] hopeful in a world that’s trying to swallow you whole because we’ve allowed ourselves to be automated out of existence. Some things have to go really, really dark in order for you to see any light at all. Hollywood films are created by a committee, and if you think about ChatGPT, it’s essentially the world’s biggest committee.” 


ChatGPT was the first of a new wave of chatbots that can create song lyrics, write your schoolwork, and, sometimes, even trick people into believing that they’re sentient beings. This future he describes is already happening with YouTube shows like Endless Seinfeld, and other AI-generated videos. “It’s just a committee of thoughts that have been all grouped together and thrown into this big, melting pot of data that’s popular and that people like, and then that’s what it is,” he says. “That’s how Hollywood has been making films. Sort of like eating junk junk food.”

This is the theme for Tittel’s upcoming game, The Last Worker, which tells the story of a human working in a factory run by robots. The inspiration came from his own real-life experiences of AI taking over people’s jobs. “It was around 2014, I walked into my local Tesco in London, and literally overnight all of the employees have been replaced,” he says. “It was like a pop-up shop, but ‘make all their employees heads pop’ shop. I just arrived and as I’m being told there’s one employee that remains, the occasional machine would break down and he’d have to walk over there and push the reset button. I observed him for a few minutes just standing there and I’m like, ‘Dude, you know what’s fucked up?’ And he goes ‘No, what?’ ‘You are assisting the robot. Isn’t the whole point of robots to assist us?’ And we’re going to be reduced to the person that’s there to reset Windows on this piece of shit box that dehumanizes everyone.”


Tittel believes we’ve allowed AI to take control of our lives in the name of convenience, but eventually we will be inconvenienced by the loss of jobs to robots and AI. It’s an issue that most of us are aware of, but one that few know how to rectify. “I don’t have a solution to it because the game doesn’t have any freaking solution. So it’s three different endings, and I’m not sure any one of them has a solution,” Tittel says. “But I’m wrestling with that because I’m looking around and, ultimately, the thing that I feel is needed the most in people’s individual lives, but especially for video games as well, is meaning. Why the fuck are we doing what we’re doing and what are we trying to say? If we don’t do that at every given waking second of our lives, why the fuck are we here?”

Despite his fear of emerging technology, Tittel actually sees a role for AI in the future of our day-to-day lives. “AI would aid people, not [have] people aiding it,” he says. “I think right now the average AI is doing more thinking than the average person because we have been trained out of thinking. We’re just consuming content. That’s what we’re doing. A bucket of shit has content in it. Hopefully they’ll introduce universal basic income, and then the job that you could have been doing will be done by AI much better. I don’t think that AI is a bad thing. It’s a tool. And if it [is] open source, it would be just as good or better.”


The Last Worker holds up a mirror to our current dystopia, but it does it with its tongue sticking through its cheek. The art style is far more cartoony and humorous than the grim reality, too. “I don’t think that one has to be serious in order to cover and inspire serious conversation,” he explains. “I also think one doesn’t have to be boring, and my game is not a fucking dissertation. I have nothing to teach to anyone because who the fuck am I? I literally just want people to think about their own role in society right now. I think that realism is gaslighting us out of a lived experience. I think when people are posting videos of, ‘Oh look, those petals are falling realistically within this HD remake,’ just go for a walk – go outside and kick a ball around. Realism is not our goal. Our goal is to actually make people travel to some new allegorical beautiful world that they couldn’t experience in the real world, so they want to come back to the real world and go, ‘You know what? I want to change shit.’

“There are funny characters and there are some characters who are offensive as well. They are because I find these corporations offensive. So of course the robots that represent them, even if they’re jailbroken, will be offensive because they’re fucking offensive. I’m offended by what these corporations do to us. For the longest time we accept this shit because we’re scared, tired, distracted, poor. I just want people to question shit, and I don’t think games are making us question stuff at the moment. That’s the stuff that always sticks with me: the greatest songs, the greatest paintings, the greatest shows, whatever, they always changed me.”