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Is Overhyping Such a Bad Thing?

Does too much hype result in a disappointing game?

By James Stevenson and Troy Roberts     October 04, 2004

© Microsoft Game Studios

Developers and publishers always try to hype up their newest titles before release to make sure their game is a big seller on launch day. But can this be bad for gaming itself? What happens when a game is so hyped up by the developer or publisher that there is no way the game can live up to its expectations, and thus results in a disappointing game?

One of the biggest problems with FABLE was not that it wasn't a good game, but that it didn't live up to all of the promises made. Peter Molyneux even apologized about talking about the game as much as he has over the past couple of years. I was talking to one of my friends in PR recently and he was relating the problem of ensuring that the developers didn't talk too much about the game, especially early on. The biggest thing you can do to hurt yourself and your image is to not put in the features in the game you said you would. It goes back to that expectations thing, some of the fondest games we remember are games with little hype. Games like ICO, REZ,


and OKAGE were all surprises because we probably didn't think much about it going into the game. Meanwhile, other titles like DRIV3R and FABLE are disappointments because of the hype put into them, and ultimately the game not meeting those lofty goals. It's a problem being recognized in the industry, and we may see a situation in the future where games are talked about less and less before release, or if they are shown, it will be very limited areas. The worst thing you can do it not live up to expectations as the game will always seem like somewhat of a failure if you don't. Lionhead just learned this, it'll be interesting to see who else does in the future. - JS

Over-hyped games can never seem to live up to the expectations placed on them. The most recent example of this is Lionhead's FABLE for the Xbox. While FABLE is honestly a great game, the promises that were made about the game just didn't stack up. The "never-ending" game could be completed in 10 hours for people who rushed through the game, and only about 15 hours for people who take their time. I was seriously disappointed with this, as I expected FABLE to be something more along the lines of ELDER SCROLLS III: MORROWIND, just with more of a point (you could wander around in MORROWIND for days having no clue what you're doing). FABLE isn't the only game guilty of this: ENTER THE MATRIX and DRIV3R both fall into this category of not being able to live up to the hype placed upon them. I mean, come on, look at the current STAR WARS movies

A screenshot from DRIV3R.

to see projects not being able to live up to their hype. Developers, and gamers, have such lofty expectations for certain things that there is no way it can live up to them. Honestly, I've enjoyed TALES OF SYMPHONIA for the GameCube more than I have FABLE for the Xbox just because I didn't expect as much going into the game, and have been pleasantly surprised by how good the game turned out. Is hype bad for the gaming industry? HALO 2 anyone? I guess we'll just see. - TR



MYST IV: REVELATION has hit store shelves...Majesco has announed that its first two Nintendo DS titles, NANOSTRAY and MOONLIGHT FABLES will ship early next year...Nintendo has reported high Game Boy Advance SP sales (up 70%), thanks in part to strong sales of POKEMON FIRERED and LEAFGREEN...Bungie has announced that they "are basically done making HALO 2."



Gamers this week can look forward to MORTAL KOMBAT: DECEPTION, this game has a lot of features, everything from battle chess to puzzle fighter to an adventure mode. For the guys in the audience, LEISURE SUIT LARRY: MAGNA CUM LAUDE hits stands. TONY HAWK fans will be thrilled with UNDERGROUND 2 as it not only has a story mode, but also a classic mode much like the older games in the series. ROBOTECH: INVASION is a knock-off of HALO, but fans of the series will appreciate it. Finally, handheld choices include MEGA MAN ZERO 3, and MARIO PINBALL LAND. We're not too sure about PINBALL yet, but check out our review of it later this week.

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