Are trailers bringing us all aboard the hype train?

It’s quite easy in today’s gaming landscape to get excited for new releases. With events like E3 and The Game Awards, sometimes all it can take is an ambiguous trailer for a beloved franchise or a respected developer announcing a new IP for people to be instantly invested. While the platforms for such announcements are an excellent way for a company to build interest, or a player to get an idea of what they need to get their hands on, they have led to the emergence of a hype-culture of sorts, where people, upon seeing a teaser or a snippet of gameplay, build ludicrously high expectations in their head and end up disappointment as a result. Is this culture damaging, or is it justified?

Trailers may be eye-catching, but they don’t always reflect the final product. Certain aspects can be downgraded to meet a deadline, and sometimes it simply isn’t as good as it looked. While this is no major issue to someone who was waiting for reviews or gameplay to be released before buying the game, a lot of people would have gone out and pre-ordered the game weeks or months in advance. One of the biggest culprits of this upon release was Hello Games’ No Man’s Sky. Initially heralded as being a boundary-pusher prior to release, it was eventually lambasted for being vastly boring and empty, far from the epic that was being sold to them.

“Trailers may be eye-catching, but they don’t always reflect the final product”

While some of those who bought the game upon release were surely disappointed, at least they only paid the retail price, unlike Reddit user “daymeeuhn”, who splashed out $1,300 to play the game two weeks before it hit the shelves. There are, unfortunately, plenty of examples of such occurrences. Fallout 76’s “Power Armour Edition”, retailing for $200, faced massive controversy when it emerged that the advertised canvas bag was actually made of the much cheaper nylon, not to mention cases of allergic reaction to the cheap plastic used to make the power armour helmet. This edition was bought by people excited by the prospect of an online Fallout experience, but couple the cheap collectibles with the release score of 46 the game received on MetaCritic and it’s a certainty that some were left dissatisfied with their purchase.

It’s not all disappointment, tough; there are cases where a game has lived up to the hype surrounding it. Marvel’s Spider-man faced backlash after a later trailer revealed a slight downgrade in graphics, affectionately dubbed #Puddlegate. Despite the vocal minority expressing outrage, many were still excited for the game’s release, which was justified, as the game was released to fantastic user reviews. Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption 2 had some fans intrigued by the idea of playing as Arthur Morgan, rather than the first instalment’s John Marston, but by the end of the game fans had taken quite a liking to Arthur as a protagonist. In both cases, the games had massive hype surrounding them, and, not only did they prove the sceptics wrong, they totally lived up to the hype they had built up. Allowing oneself to develop hype around an impending release can be a big risk, but sometimes it can pay off. Just be careful when a new title is announced, as such releases can easily go either way.