What Does Hype Do To A Game?
The Internet has allowed hype and expectations to have lives of their own. Big new projects can build under an increasingly oppressive blanket of hype for years, and although hotly anticipated projects typically turn out well in this industry, there have been disappointments. It's one thing to get your name out there and promote the title of the game. But right now, it almost feels as if astronomical hype can only act as a crutch.
I recently wrote that Gran Turismo 5 had better secure the title of "best simulator ever"; otherwise, it will be considered a failure. The constant updates, each of which only serve to ratchet up the hype even higher (see this example), are only amping up the anticipation level to almost unheard-of heights. And what about Killzone 3? Throughout the rest of the year, the hype will just get bigger and bigger...but what's interesting is that it may not reach the level of hype surrounding its predecessor so perhaps KZ3 is actually better off. The problem is that gamers are online a lot; they're digesting all sorts of information in record time. There's more of it and it's more readily accessible than ever before; there are trade show videos (who even needs to go to E3 anymore?), hundreds of sites with news and media, etc, etc, etc.
Hence, the hype level can rise very, very quickly. And with each new detail ingested comes another small expectation. I'm almost starting to think that those who don't frequent gaming websites are better off; they know what they like, they do a little research in terms of review scores when the game comes out, and that's it. It's almost as if publishers are shooting themselves in the foot by releasing so much info so early; the hardcore gamers will spend a very long time talking about it, and the result is...well, we know all about the result. We've seen it explode on message boards and in forums all over the 'Net. It's very easy to play a game, compare it to the mass of info gathered before and go, "damn, they said this and it's not really true..." Lastly, it seems that gamers would much rather bash on a game than promote it these days (rampant hostility from being cooped up inside too much, possibly).
Perhaps, as with anything else in life, moderation is the key. We would suggest not inundating yourself with everything GT5 or KZ3-related for the next few months, and maybe then you'll be happier. Maybe you won't be so tense. Maybe when the game(s) finally come out, you'll enjoy 'em more. Just a thought.
7/13/2010 9:24:52 PM Ben Dutka