Another explosion and another one bites the dust when it comes to the most hyped title of E3 2012 – Watch Dogs, teaching us about how hype is not a gamer-created phenomenon but a fault of the developers themselves as well. The game’s lackluster graphics and rather bland gameplay has left a very sour taste in a lot of gamer minds that begs the question: where is developer integrity? While this article is not meant to attack a specific company in general, it is meant to look into the general state of the industry. Ubisoft Montreal has made some beautiful games when it comes to Far Cry 3 and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. Both of these games were touted during E3 and simply delivered. Watch Dogs, however, did anything but deliver to the graphical scale and gameplay expectations even with a long delay.
While we did not review Watch Dogs or frankly had the time to with a lot of requests, we did get to play it and realized one thing: developers need to be more honest. Jonathan Morin – Watch Dogs’ Director at one point stated the graphics were “better than the E3 build – everything was better.” Suddenly videos showed explosions that kind of spurted out weakly and something that even GTA IV put to shame in that department visually (a very last-generation title). While Next Generation (Next-Gen) does not always stay true to its actual hype, considering the graphics only step up marginally to match PC throughput and to last for at least 8-9 years of generational dependency, there is a strong lack of interest that a lot of gamers need to start having. E3 has always been about the hype. And it is partly a very important reason why we stopped our E3 Awards as of recently. The awards though great acknowledgment, do add to this hype of unreleased products, and affects people in having them buy a game that we said was “Best Action Game,” or that seemed to be, and that fell heavily short in the product release. After nearly thousands of e-mails, one thing is clear: developers need to be more forward and more honest. Watch Dogs developer Ubisoft Montreal and their whole team need to definitely be ashamed for the graphical hype they caused. Sure, one can say that it is the problem of gamers having unreal expectations, or believing the hype, but it changes nothing; the developers showed a demo and then offer up preorders with very limited footage up to the date of release which hardly seems fair for anyone. Being a “believer” of what these developers say and giving them the benefit of the doubt should not be an easy pass for the defenders of developer titles or people with lowering standards to quell their preorder investment or fanboy bias.
All in all – people and developers need to realize that if you have a great game – you do not rely on E3 hype or cinematic trailers. And if there are comprises to be made like From Software’s Dark Souls II obliteration downgrade – this should never be shown in the first place or be heavily captioned with “Everything shown following is not guaranteed to be the same as the final product.”
A lot may ask – but why? Is this not common sense? To which I ask – why do Starbucks cups warn of “CAUTION: AVOID POURING ON CROTCH AREA?” Surely, no one will grab a nice cup of orange mocha frappucino lightly heated and pour it on their crotch? Either way, these things must be made clear regardless of a relative interpretation of “common” knowledge.
Developers reading this post: be real and do not rely on the hype. Take a lesson from CD Projekt RED and developers Sony Computer Entertainment or even Microsoft (with the exception of Forza nerf). Learn from the hype, and do not partake in it or utter failure will result.