Webster dictionary defines the word “Hype” as promotional publicity of an extravagant or contrived kind. In this realm of video games we know this well. Game companies know what we want. Hype can come in many different forms. When pre-ordering for some game you can get different levels of a pre-order that will come with bonuses. Also, you could have exclusive DLC or skins for the character for only one system. I will be the first to post the an item showing the graphical capabilities of the new Watch Dogs game or new gameplay. It can lead you to talk about it with friends. Which itself is a great thing. It is perfectly natural to be excited for a game and consequentially hype it up; however, is it really a good thing for us to be doing so?
You all remember the game Aliens: Colonial Marines? Five years ago, Sega announced that Gearbox was going to develop an FPS based on the Aliens franchise. Aliens: Colonial Marines had Fox’s blessing to tell a canonical story that bridged Aliens and Alien 3. It looked pretty good in demos, and for a moment it seemed as though, after being disappointed for decades, Aliens fans were finally going to get the game they deserved. Unfortunately, the result of the long wait turn out very differently. It became worst for Sega and Gearbox due to the pending lawsuit claiming the two companies falsely advertised Aliens: Colonial Marines by showing demos at trade shows like PAX and E3 which didn’t end up being accurate representations of the final product. I won’t pass a final judgement on them but the hype surrounding this game because of the screenshots and trailers that came out, it had reached a point where me and other people expected it to do anything and be everything we wanted from an Aliens game, even when that could never really happen. Even though this Aliens game was not the worst game ever, it seemed far more disastrous to us than it actually was because it became so built up in our minds.
The above picture is from an IGN article showing the next-gen version of Call of Duty. Sledgehammer Games revealed this image showing in-game character model. People are already reading into this character and dissecting where does this take place. This is a Call of Duty game, I need to see soldiers in action and explosions everywhere. I need to see the story and the premise. That is what I am going to care about. Not a cheek. When I am living in the best moments in the game, it will not be about the pores in this guy’s face. This seems impulsive and not planned out. (The image was shown in private at a GDC 2014 function. Asking what happen between now and then is for another blog post.) Sorry for going into a small rant but I had to.
Gaming is a symbiotic relationship, the gamers and the publishers have a responsibility to each other that must be fulfilled to keep a happy medium. Yes, publishers may say false things about a game to hype it up. That is why it is our job as gamers to see past this. Take the time to do some research first. Make sure you will be happy with your purchase before you walk into the store; because like everything else, hype is only a phase.