Is it time we killed the hype?

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A lot of noise has been made recently over whether or not it’s okay to be “hyped” (i.e., extremely excited) about video games anymore. With the constant delays, the downgrades, the incomplete games and their multiple DLCs, and so on, some are starting to feel like being too excited over a video game is pretty much a waste of time in this day and age.

Are folks being cynical, or do they have justification for feeling this way? The games that usually generate the most hype belong to two categories: either the ones that are long-awaited and much-anticipated (Final Fantasy VII Remake, Kingdom Hearts III, The Last Guardian, Shenmue III, The Last Of Us Part 2, Red Dead Redemption 2, etc.), or the new IPs that make a lot of big promises (Horizon: Zero Dawn, Detroit: Become Human, Days Gone, No Man’s Sky, etc.).

From the first category, players usually know what they’re going to get so they can tell whether to keep their expectations high or low. A great example of this is the recent announcement of Kindom Hearts III’s release date. It’s supposed to be out in 2018 (which is exciting no matter what: it’s going to be out soon enough!), but hordes of fans have held back their excitement for fear of the game being delayed past 2018.

The second category is the more troublesome one. With new IPs we get multiple trailers showing off fantastic new worlds and seemingly incredible gameplay, but people can’t judge if what they’re seeing is actually what they’re going to get once the game releases.

Watch Dogs suffered a very noticeable graphical downgrade from its E3 trailer to the final product.

Companies tend to use enhanced graphics in trailers that don’t end up matching the actual games for promotional purposes. A prime example of this is Ubisoft’s initial Watch Dogs title that showcased a marvelous city with stunning graphics and the ability to hack into any of the NPC’s phones and find out about their private lives. What the game actually delivered was a relatively empty world with significantly downgraded visuals. The French company had a similar issue with yet another of their highly advertised new titles, The Division, which promised a combination of third person shooter and RPG elements, but ended up giving a lot less to players. And that’s not to mention a problematic multiplayer and yet another graphical downgrade.

Mass Effect: Andromeda also had several issues with characters having extremely unnatural animations among many other problems. Many of these problems were later fixed through a patch, however the experience for many fans of the franchise and even many newcomers was ruined, especially after a lengthy marketing campaign for the game that lasted years.

But the one that takes the cake is without doubt No Man’s Sky. Making promises of vastly different and unique worlds, multiplayer options, and a whole lot more, players were infatuated with the incredible capabilities that they were looking at in the game’s trailers. Just going from planet to planet, harvesting resources, looking for new planets and life forms to claim for their own… These were the types of things that Hello Games promised to them. Instead — and after two delays — the game delivered planets that were all too similar, lackluster life forms, and no multiplayer. Some of the developers even went as far as to tweet that the game was a “mistake.” With all of its broken promises and lies from producer Sean Murray, this game has become the quintessential “hype-killer.”

Despite all this, there are many good examples for why players should be hyped for games. Games like Horizon: Zero Dawn, NieR: Automata, Persona 5, and The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild are but a few of the prime examples that games can be all that they are hyped up to be, and even more!

Hype can be a good thing because it generates a lot of buzz for a potentially good product. And even if the product ends up bad, because of all the disappointment going around, others will know to stay away from it. Feedback and reviews can be a valuable source of information in this consumer-heavy world we live in, and there’s no greater source than from the customers themselves. The company that creates a title is never going to come out and openly say, “Hey, we made a game for you but it’s not the one we’ve got on the trailer.” The only way of truly knowing what to expect is through other people that have played the game. So yes, hype can be good even if a game turns out bad. Because for one, it’ll inform the company that players aren’t satisfied with their final product and they can fix it (provided they care), and two, it’ll keep other potential customers away from said product.

And at the end of the day, it’s always a great feeling to get excited for something that you’ve been waiting for, be it a long-anticipated game, or a brand new IP in a genre you love. I, for one, will never forget the excitement I felt at seeing the announcement of the Final Fantasy VII Remake back at E3 2015. Will the game be as good as I imagine it to be? I don’t know! But what I do know is that nothing will ever replace that feeling. So let’s keep up the hype, eh?

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Alex Anifantis

Gamer from a young age, ever since my older sister introduced me to the worlds of Tetris and Super Mario. Self-proclaimed Final Fantasy fanatic, generally enjoy all JRPGs. The most important quality in a game to me is a good story.

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