Do Gamers Disappoint Themselves?

E3 is fast approaching and it’s usually at this time of year that we as gamers get our first look at the games that will be hitting our shelves in the next year or so. It’s like Christmas for us and I’m sure I’m not alone when I start to make my wish list on the back of what we have seen at E3.

This is not without its problems and I think, our reactions to the trailers we see is a huge factor in our disappointment when a game comes along, that isn’t up to the high expectations that have been set.

I personally think the main reason games receive a poor reception is the level of hype that has built up before their release. Sometimes, like in the tragic case of Aliens: Colonial Marines, the blame can be firmly placed on the developer for over exaggerating, misleading or outright lying about their game. Unplayable demos build the hype around a game, and embargos deny people any chance to disprove their claims. Sometimes it will be someone associated with the game blowing so much smoke around the project (I’m looking at you Peter Molyneux), that people easily confuse the developers intentions with “wouldn’t it be cool if” conversations. This may be unintentional in many cases but it does mean that we, as gamers and consumers, might go out and pre-order a game because they have promised high, but will deliver low.

Ce la vie, that’s life and we just have to be aware that we may not be getting the whole story.

At this stage I’d like to raise something that may get some internet rage thrown around, but here it goes.

As gamers ‘WE’ over hype games. We build them up so much, from so little, that it will be impossible for the developers to live up to the task of making us happy. Let’s take the example of The Order 1886. At E3 last year during the Sony press conference we saw a trailer. One trailer that lasted around 2 minutes 50 seconds, we saw no gameplay and there was no human input into the clip we saw but the internet exploded. Everyone was talking about how amazing the game looked and if I read the word “Steampunk” once I must have read it a hundred times. It is entirely understandable to get excited over games, we all do but this trailer shows us that we don’t really need that much to get the hype machine going into overdrive; sometimes developers just give us enough rope to hang them with.

I don’t want anyone to think I’m showing favourites by talking about a Sony exclusive so the other game I am going to talk about is “the biggest Xbox One exclusive”. Yeah that’s right; Titanfall.

I like Titanfall, it’s not without its faults but it is a pretty entertaining online shooter. There’s no way we could have known back in 2013 that Titanfall would essentially be half a game, so we can excused for that small lapse, however when Titanfall was announced people went crazy for it. It won six E3 awards including best of show. But what did we really see at E3? Sure there was some gameplay footage but not a whole lot, there were lots of explosions and Titans milling around. That’s really about it, yet we as gamers built the game up to be the new kind of FPS, the CoD killer, the future of gaming. Titanfall is an enjoyable game but I certainly wouldn’t go as far as all of that.

My somewhat rambling point it this: we built these game up, thorough youtube, through blogs and comments, we set an unachievable standard for the developers to try and grasp for, with no real chance of them ever getting close.

We can see the same thing happening with the Call of Duty Advanced Warfare trailer. I have heard people say that it is taking ideas from Titanfall. Youtube is full of breakdowns of the trailer and lists of “game changers”. Once again let’s try and put this into perspective, we have seen a trailer that is under three minutes, yeah it looks cool but we don’t actually know about the game yet.

I just think, that with the sometimes not so transparent approach that some developers use when presenting their games we should hold off placing that game on a pedestal until we actually know something about it. Sure we will be tricked from time to time like we were with Aliens: Colonial Marines and developers will still use an, Über polished vertical slice for their presentations, I just don’t think we need to automatically start screaming from the rooftops about it.