Hacked Off: The Build-up of Hype Too Far Before New Game Releases

Now, hype is a weird one. Obviously, it’s something that can never really change. If a developer decided to stop building up anticipation for a game, they would be marked fools. There would be no real drive from consumers to actually go buy the game. Though, I don’t like the build-up way before anything is due to come out.

Where to start? Well, Sombra, I guess. Contrary to the hate towards Blizzard’s ARG in the whole process, I think it was a good, fun idea. It’s just it was too long. They had built too much hype around her that she was on a pedestal, which she deserves from seeing her PTR, as she’s very strong and good to play. This has allowed people to forgive her, but there was still a problem. Had they made the percentage counters go quicker, people wouldn’t have gotten as angry. The problem was it took too long for anything to happen. The hype had been built up well from the start, everyone was excited by it, but by the end people were annoyed and frustrated. Which, now I might be wrong, is not what you want.

I don’t get why games want to build up anticipation months or years before they’re even released. It’s getting worse every year. I understand you want people to know your game is coming out, but build the hype up a couple of months before. At gaming conferences release a teaser trailer so people know it’s coming, but nothing more. Hype eventually dies down, so it makes sense to have a shorter distance between building anticipation and the release. From a business point you want people to make impulse buys, not give them a chance to think about whether they actually want it. There have been several games like this for me. Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate springs to mind. When I first heard about it, it couldn’t come out quick enough. On release I didn’t pick it up. Don’t get me wrong, I still want it, but it’s no longer a priority.

The key example is Kingdom Hearts III. We’ve known about the game for ten years. There had been no development to the game, all it did was build up hype. The game was officially announced in 2013, but no real details emerged. We’ve had several trailers for it, but there is still no indication of when this game will actually come out. For all we know it could still come out in four years’ time. What did they gain from announcing it then? Did they think people would just stay at a constant level of excitement until the game comes out? I’m excited for it, but not as much as I was a few years ago, as I’ve had time to process the initial excitement of knowing it’s being made.

The same can be said about Final Fantasy XV. While the delays were not completely their fault or anticipated, it’s still been annoying. The hype has not done wonders for the game, instead it has made the game have unrealistic expectations. The game has to be amazing, living up to everyone’s hopes and dreams. If not, people are going to be complaining about it. Problems that would not have drawn as much attention before will now be under the limelight. People have been waiting a decade for this and made the game into something it is not. They didn’t help themselves, over the years there have been countless trailers building anticipation. Following these were false claims of release dates.

One thing brought out of people from hype is the need to know everything. One example of this is the Pokémon Sun and Moon leaks. I don’t understand why people would want to know all of the Pokémon and their stats before the games are released. Now, I personally followed all of the information they released, as I was interested. But I only paid attention to things they officially released. Call me weird, but I like to discover things in the games themselves. It’s like looking for all your Christmas presents a couple of weeks before Christmas Day. There is no longer any excitement on the day in question, you know what you’re getting, and now you’re just being allowed to have it.

One area of hype I’m not a fan of are trailers. I would rather do without them, which I know is a stupid thought. Without them games would just appear on sale one day and no one would have a clue what they’re about. I watch trailers, of course I do. But I prefer a trailer that doesn’t give away key aspects of the story. I prefer teaser trailers or just gameplay trailers. Ones that hook you on the game and quench the thirst for hype but don’t force it down like a student on a night out. The new Mass Effect: Andromeda trailer did the job. It gave a rough glimpse of the story to get an idea of what to expect, but I don’t feel like I know where they’re going with it. Trailers are to offer a glimpse, not the whole shebang.


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