Hype, it’s a word that is not only common, it’s become overused. We often say hype as opposed to saying that we’re excited, it’s just how pop culture has shaped the word. But do we really understand how hype can be just as harming to a game as it can be beneficial? I recently just played through the most hyped game of 2017, Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and I feel a bit disappointed. Everyone kept saying this game was the best game of the year, even IGN gave it Game of the Year, but I wouldn’t even give it Game of the Month. Why am I so disappointed in this game? Because it didn’t live up to the hype.
Many games fall victim to this, The Division, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Destiny 2, Tom Clancy’s The Wild. These are just four examples from a sea of games that are affected from overhype. Companies love to rely on the free marketing that comes from hype, because it’s free and it’s effective. When you see a trailer for a game, there’s a reason that it always looks more polished than what we end up with. If you look closely at these trailers, you’ll notice that what you see in the gameplay footage often doesn’t make its way into the final game design. And that’s so it’ll look awesome, get you excited and you’ll tell your friends, who will then look it up, get excited, then tell their friends. The chain of hype continues, even if it shouldn’t.
Just like sex, games rarely ever live up to the hype surrounding it. We tell ourselves it will be everything we’ve ever wanted! But once it’s over, sure we’ve had a good time, but it’s not the life changing experience we were hoping for. We forget that games aren’t meant to blow our minds or meant to be the next big thing every time they’re made. Even journalists make this mistake. Personal excitement leaks into our professional boundaries because we’re only human and Game Journalism is a really lax field where being personal is accepted, if not expected.
How do we keep hype in check? That’s the hard question, isn’t it? How can we each control our excitement? It starts with remembering that whatever game you’re seeing will be made to entertain you, not change your life. I remember the hype surrounding No Man’s Sky and the fall out is still radiating throughout gaming forums and Steam reviews. While reveal trailers, gameplay trailers and big gaming conventions are amazing and let us get excited, it’s important to enjoy the content but not rely on it to blow your view on gaming as a whole.
I hope in 2018 we can see over hyping make way for reasonable expectations, excitement and more honest trailers from developers and publishers. Developers are under scrutiny for microtransactions becoming a main part of their game, maybe we should be looking towards the footage and marketing tactics that they use to generate over hype as well. Next article will be the second entry into The Current State of the Gaming Industry, and I think it’ll be a good read for everyone. Happy New Year everyone, stay classy!