Well, isn’t that a relief. I was genuinely worried for a minute that I wouldn’t have anything to talk about for the second time in a row. Today’s musing is brought courtesy of Lewis Denby, Editor of a videogames website called BeefJack, and today he was ranting about the games industry and its recent tendency to lie to our faces.
Lewis’ post was actually sparked by the recent announcement that Catherine, a so-called “adult” action-adventure puzzle game coming out of Japan. I’ve been hearing positive things about it, but the game itself hasn’t really piqued my interest so I’m not sure about the details surrounding it. Anyway, Lewis was annoyed that they’d announced a US release when they’d previously said, point-blank I assume, that there would be no US release.
The other incident he cites is when Bioware and EA were trying to keep the Dragon Age 2 PC Demo a secret, first by saying it was “misleading speculation” and then with one of the writers going on record to say there wasn’t one. Or at least, there was no “official confirmation” of a demo. He doesn’t’ t actually point blank deny its existence, so that’s not too bad.
The one I remember most clearly is the PS3 Twisted Metal game. Not because I’m particular fan of the franchise or anything – I’ve never played a Twisted Metal game – but I happened to be watching the E3 Sony Conference at the time, so we could get any news from it, and I remember the internet exploding a little bit. You see, whilst I’m not 100% certain on the ins and out of what Lewis was talking about, I do know that David Jaffe lied. Oh yes he did. He even posted soon after on why he felt he had to lie.
Now, I get why he did it. I get why publishers in general feel the need to tell porkies sometimes. The internet is gradually making planned surprises almost impossible to do. When I went to see Duke Nukem Forever after Randy Pitchford finally announced his studio was going to finish it, some of the stories he told as to the lengths these guys went to keep all that under wraps was insane. It’s no-one’s fault that it’s come to this, it’s just how the world has had to evolve in the digital age.
Does that justify lying to our faces? I honestly don’t know how to answer that one. On the one hand, I feel as annoyed as Lewis does sometimes (although I’d kindly ask him to stop speaking on everyone’s behalf all the time. We are capable of fighting our own battles you know). There are many ‘tricks’ available to people, even developers who aren’t necessarily trained in press relations, to avoid talking about a subject. Sometimes we journos need to respect when the devs don’t or can’t talk more. We’re not mainstream press, we’re not taking a corrupt Government to task for anything – if a developers doesn’t want to talk about something then we need to respect that. Maybe they wouldn’t feel such a need to lie to us.
Trust is a very fickle yet important thing. We trust that PR’s will do everything in their power to hide the truth from us, to leave things ambiguous, and so on… they can trust us to try and find things out as much as possible, and to play their games and try and give everything a fair go etc… It’s a game, it’s game that I enjoy playing sometimes – coming up with creative questions to try and get snippets of information, seeing them come up with equally creative answers.
Sure, do what you need to do to protect your secrets, if you must, but the digital age means you should probably consider changing how you think, or how surprises are handled. Or something. Don’t get annoyed at us because you lied to us. I’m sure you would be annoyed if a loved one or spouse had kept something from you too (And no, the “birthday surprise” analogy doesn’t count here).
Until next time.