Sunday Soapbox: Great Expectations

So after a 6 year build-up, Gran Turismo 5 finally exploded out of Polyphony Digital’s loins into the face of the public. Some gobbled it all up while others felt it tasted a little bitter or stale. Either way it created a small mess that has all but subsided for now.

But moving away from the ejaculate imagery, game hype is an interesting topic. The quotes I pulled from that IGN review were not the exception, they were the rule. Many people could truly not understand how a game that was in development for 6 years could possibly not be perfect. 8.5 from IGN (a very good score, mind you) and an 8.8 industry average was somehow cause for revolution and an endless volcano of anger.

This might be the extreme, but even in more reasonable people a more subtle version of this rationale exists. Take the Riddlethos community, using Final Fantasy XIII as a prime example. The first proper HD Final Fantasy game, a four year wait, and a very lackluster end result. This was difficult to swallow initially. Even the largest detractors of the game now were forgiving and optimistic in first few days of its existence.

Of course, that’s not a perfect example as it did take a while to realize that the game truly was nothing but a tunnel for the vast majority of its length.

But this is not a Final Fantasy soapbox. The point is that expectations and hopes that a game will be fantastic creates very interesting emotions in the player when the product is either not very good or not widely critically acclaimed. A player almost feels emotionally violated; like her pride is directly linked to the quality of the title or the perceived quality.

I think about games that I was excited for that didn’t let me down: Shadow of the Colossus, Majora’s Mask, Final Fantasy XII, Mass Effect 2. I think about games that did let me down: Twilight Princess, Final Fantasy XIII, Wind Waker, Brutal Legend. It makes me wonder if I should shift the way I get excited for future titles: The Last Guardian, Skyward Sword, Kingdom Hearts III, even Versus XIII.

Like some Soapboxes, I don’t have a grand sweeping point. I’m just curious in the way you all handle hype. While my hype has sometimes not allowed me to fully appreciate a game until later, and I’ve been guilty of being forgiving to games I wanted desperately to like, I ultimately enjoy the fact that I get excited for games. It reminds me that I love this industry and that no other indulgence gets me excited like an impending anticipated title. I guess all I can hope for is to be better prepared for a potential disappointment.

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One Response to “Sunday Soapbox: Great Expectations”

  1. SiliconNooB says:

    These days I am extremely ambivalent and somewhat mentally fatigued when I even try to consider the hype surrounding franchise games that I’ve liked in the past. Like a battered and abused woman, I am still looking for love, but cannot help viewing every game that comes along as though it might rape me …

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