It’s a well-known fact: Hype builds up sales. If you don’t market something and build up enough anticipation for it, people won’t buy it. With yearly sequels and AAA releases, hype is all the more important. Even if ultimately your game doesn’t revolutionize the business, it is offering cutting edge graphics, a large scale, new multiplayer modes and a detailed soundtrack which you need to recoup costs on.
However, these days, games are crossing the threshold of what’s possible with hype. It’s not just about fan anticipation – it’s about what the developers believe their game will deliver in contrast to what it actually achieves. There’s no better example than Watch Dogs, which was touted as a next generation open world title with amazing scale and playability that nonetheless featured lots of bugs, a disappointing story and mechanics that took more than a while to get the hang of. That being said, with 2014 on its way out and many big name releases expected in 2015, what are some of the most dangerously overhyped games due next year? Take a look below.
Halo 5: Guardians
It’s usually the case that every single Halo game is overhyped. That’s sort of the point at this stage given how big of a franchise and flagship marketing tool it’s become for Microsoft but Halo 5: Guardians is in a slightly different boat. When Halo 3 released, it wasn’t seen as a vast improvement over the second game in terms of graphics (gameplay was a far different story) and Halo 4 was looked at more as a test to see if 343 Industries could shoulder the franchise in Bungie’s absence. At best, the latter was a transitional title into the new plot that 343 had begun building.
With Halo 5: Guardians and the lore that 343 has created in the meantime, it’s going to be a test to see if they can create a stellar story that stands on its own. It doesn’t help that the multiplayer will need to go above and beyond what any game before it has done. Ditto with the graphics engine. Despite this, Halo 5: Guardians is already being looked at as the Xbox One game of 2015, if not the console’s biggest release in its short lifespan.
Bungie has always had a habit of delivering under pressure and immense hype but 343 Industries with Halo 5: Guardians? That remains to be seen.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
When you have a game that’s mercilessly dissected on the basis of one small teaser alone, you know it’s incredibly over-hyped. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is a game whose sole trailer (which Naughty Dog claims is in-game graphics) reveals nothing in terms of story or gameplay but is still being touted as the top PS4 game for 2015. Granted, Naughty Dog’s pedigree is enough to convince us that the game will be great.
But will it be a revolutionary next step for the PS4? Will it be the greatest game of all time? There are already plenty of naysayers who believe Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception and The Last of Us were simply good but not great. If the hype for The Last of Us: Remastered, a graphical upgrade to a one year old title, is something crazy then just imagine what’ll happen as we get closer to Uncharted 4’s release date.
What are we saying? Even a new trailer will be enough to feed the flames of hype.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
This is an odd case. The hype for CD Projekt RED’s The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is incredible but the developer itself hasn’t been overhyping it like made. The game has 100 hours of gameplay? We can believe that, especially given the sheer scale of the environments. The combat will be improved? This is credible enough given gameplay footage. However, even a game like Destiny needs to be played before you can call it the most incredible game ever. And that’s the problem with The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
As much as we’ve heard about the game, there’s still a lot we haven’t seen. Is it an epic quest? Will it indeed be a great game? We’ll either find out by watching more footage or actually playing the game. Nonetheless, the hype wagon already has this billed as one of the best games of 2015 – ask anyone what they’re looking forward to early next year and be amazed if The Witcher 3 is not the choice.
CD Projekt RED thankfully has a history of living up to the hype but there’s no denying that the anticipation is reaching unrealistic levels.
Tom Clancy’s The Division
Of course, it’s Ubisoft so how can you not expect lots of hype? Word is still out on what kind of online experience the game will be – because MMOs are the kinds of games that need to be played over several hours to really gauge whether it’s worth your time – but that doesn’t mean Ubisoft isn’t hyping it to high heaven and beyond.
First off, the publisher is touting the graphical abilities of The Division and how its Snowdrop Engine can render real-time weather effects, degradation and so on. It’s being pushed as a new standard in not only online RPG graphics but in all of gaming. That’s enough to generate a substantial amount of hype but that’s not all – the game was delayed into 2015 simply to ensure that developer Massive Entertainment was able to polish and fully realize the world of The Division. Meanwhile, Ubisoft continues to tout it as a highly emotional and involving experience. Does this scenario sound familiar?
Again, there’s no denying that The Division has a lot to showcase before it can be properly judged. It would just be wise for Ubisoft to tone down the hyperbole a bit.
Speaking of toning down the hyperbole, there’s Visceral Games’ Battlefield: Hardline. The developer is already well past the stage of convincing you that it won’t have Battlefield 4’s numerous bugs and troubled online experience by delaying the game to early 2015. That at least delivers some reassurance that Visceral and by extension DICE is concerned with meeting standards rather than rushing to reach gold status.
That being said, Battlefield: Hardline is being pushed as a one of a kind Heist experience, with a unique presentation and multiplayer. Admittedly Visceral still has much more to show off but with games like Titanfall and the soon to be released Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, one has to wonder whether the developer isn’t simply polishing last year’s gameplay rather than delivering a breakout new experience.
It’s EA so we don’t expect them to tone down the rhetoric but it would be best if Battlefield: Hardline was marketed more as the underdog to the Call of Duty franchise – as it was in years past – rather than as some new standard for multiplayer gaming.