Lie to me.
They say that honesty is the best policy. Please. In the ever-evolving universe of video games, honesty is a policy which is regularly scoffed at, laughed at, and ridiculed with an astonishing level of consistency reaching frightening heights during the run up to a new console release.
Sadly, in the gaming industry, bluffing is an art; whilst the cold, hard truth is overshadowed by the bravado and arrogance of the company who can whisper the sexiest lies. Hell, if you were to study the art of ‘stretching the truth’, then the game’s industry would be the ideal case study – there’s more bull excrement lying around than at a busy rodeo.
We’re not talking about the playful Chinese whispers of fellow gamers. Sure, we all enjoyed the ridiculous gaming rumours such as the one where you could make Lara Croft naked in Tomb Raider by meeting a set of specific criteria (come on, you know you tried at least one). No, we’re talking about the harmful, hurtful and unashamedly blatant lies spouted by the very creators themselves.
Foolishly, we vowed to ourselves that we’ve never be treated like this again…yet, here we are, gimmick in hand, £40 down.
Invariably, developers, console manufacturers and, dare it be uttered, colluding journalists, have spun many a web of lies over the years; some guiltier than others. Innocently, we absorb the meticulously crafted PR statements. We watch with awe and amazement at the possibilities of the upcoming hardware. We listen to the audible deceit which spews from the mouth of our providers. Then, inevitably…we are left with the truth. And predictably, it hurts.
Our blood begins to boil, our cheeks flush with rage. With clammy palms and a broken heart, we look upon the monstrosity that sits before us, longingly glancing back at the pretty package we were initially promised. Foolishly, we vowed to ourselves that we’ve never be treated like this again…yet, here we are, gimmick in hand, £40 down, staring blankly at a screen full of coded lies.
Bitter, dejected and a little bit scared; our instinctive decision to scorn this unforgivable malpractice slowly fades. As we attempt to reason the obvious, we daren’t blame the console itself. It’s the innocent party in all of this after all. So eventually, we forgive and forget, continuing to drink from the tainted chalice of exaggeration and fallacy. And then, cruelly, it happens again.
The lies of the gaming industry are a viscous, tormenting whirlwind; one which frequently shatters, revealing the false reality painted by these masters of deception. With the impending arrival of Sony’s and Microsoft’s next-gen consoles looming on the horizon, Sumonix are here to remind you of some the gaming industry’s greatest lies. Why? Well, as the inquisitive, optimistic and excitable bunch that we are (yes, we fell for many of these porkies), it’s only fair that we attempt to quell the often over-exuberant anticipation that stirs in the belly of every enthusiastic gamer. It’s a noble and preventive measure aimed at dousing the incoming flames of disappointment which will no doubt be kindled by the approaching next-gen consoles.
Peter Moloneux – The Fable Series (and others)
To millions of gamers around the world, Mr. Peter Moloneux is heralded as a legend in the industry, and rightly so. The creator of fantastic titles such as Dungeon Keeper, Popupolus, Theme Park and the Fable series; Peter’s repertoire for developing unique and memorable experiences is unquestioned. However, Peter isn’t perfect, as Moloneux’s mouth has managed to tarnish his legacy. For you see, Peter likes to talk up his games. Unfortunately, and far too often, the words that pass from his lips are never truly recreated or apparent in the final product.
Gamers may remember a certain title known as Fable for the Xbox: and the absolute tosh that was claimed possible before its release. Peter Moloneux lavished Fable with more hype than one man could possibly fathom. Fable was proclaimed to be a revolutionary game, one which would grant the player unprecedented freedom, with meaningful, time-enduring events. The problem was, much of what Peter claimed was actually false, with many elements not even possible. For example, one of Peter’s less extravagant lies was, “If you choose to carve your initials in a tree, the initials will still be there if you come back to the tree 10 years later.”
Gamers may remember a certain title known as Fable for the Xbox: and the absolute tosh that was claimed possible before its release.
The real truth turned out to be nothing of the sort. You couldn’t do any initial carving, your player wouldn’t end up scarred for life if you got cut in a battle. You couldn’t plant a tree and revisit it later down the line. In fact, there was basically no notion of elapsing time and enduring consequences bar simple good or bad actions. In short, it was a product which was completely misrepresented. But Mr Moloneux’s greatest illusion was yet to reveal itself.
In 2009, riding the wave of pure, utter rubbish that was then Project Natal’s press reveal, Peter Moloneux, the pillar of truth, showed off the capability of the new, controller-free peripheral with the infamous, ‘Milo’ demo.
Unsurprisingly, ‘Milo’, will never see the light of day as it’s simply not possible. Milo was nothing more than an elaborate hoax, a disturbing illusion, consisting of pure smoke and mirrors. It’s cringe worthy stuff folks, and a sterling example of how far companies will bend the truth to push their products. Looks like Peter is peddling empty promises again kids…
The Sony PlayStation 3 – Ultimate Power?
The PlayStation 3 redefined the word ‘hype’. Like its predecessor before it, the PlayStation 2, the Sony PlayStation 3’s technical capabilities were hilariously over-exaggerated (remember the PlayStation 2’s Toy Story-like graphics?). But we all bought it, like the suckers we are.
According to Ken Kitaguri, the godfather of the PlayStation itself, the PlayStation 3 would deliver 1080p native output for all titles, with a frame rate of an astonishing 120 frames per second possible for future titles. Dual HD output was promised, benefiting gameplay with the use of two HD screens displaying different information. You could also video chat with friends whilst playing a game! Hmmm…Not quite Ken. The video below highlights just a few occurrences of Sony’s barefaced lying.
Thankfully, the PS3 is a fantastic console, one that has no doubt produced some beautiful exclusive titles such as the Uncharted and Killzone series. But it would be laughable to claim that there is the type of gulf in quality between the PS3 and its rivals as was initially, and repeatedly, promised, never mind the complete absence of proudly touted features. Shame on you Sony!
Killzone 2 and Motorstorm – It’s Fine To Lie Through CGI
Infamy is not usually a trait associated with video game trailers, however, remarkably, this status belongs to Killzone 2’s mind blowing, hotly debated 2005 E3 debut trailer; a trailer which apparently showcased the power of the PlayStation 3. Gamers argued passionately whether or not the footage was real or pre-rendered.
Adding fuel to the fire, a mistaken Sony representative claimed that the footage was indeed, ‘actual gameplay’, resulting in millions of Sony fans to rejoice with glee. Slowly, the yarn of lies was unraveled, with Sony forced to back track on their initial proclamation, deeming the trailer to be a ‘target-render’ (a fancy new term for CGI).
Killzone 2’s developer Guerilla Games responded to the E3 2005 trailer accusations on the “Ask a Dev thread” on the PlayStation boards, suggesting Sony PR had confused things at the time.
“The E3 2005 trailer was not false. One confused Sony rep claimed it was a movie from the game engine – one guy blitzed out of his mind on fatigue, jet-lag and the madness that is E3. One guy not at all affiliated with Guerrilla Games – probably with a head full of 30 different titles,” said “EON”, a member of Guerrilla Games.
“Everyone else named the E3 2005 video for what it was – a target render of what we thought would be possible on the PS3. Something we would be aiming for. Then, during E3 2007, in front of the majority of the gaming journalist press, we released a trailer of Pre-Alpha code running and demonstrated a playable Killzone 2 that stunned the industry.”
Joining Killzone 2 in the contest for most deceiving trailer of the decade was Motorstorm. Incredible graphics and the false perception of gameplay through CGI was again apparent, sparking more excitement and furor. Thankfully, Evolution Studios were more forthcoming in their acceptance that this trailer was nothing more than *sigh* another target render.
So, beware readers. Those beautiful trailers that look like gameplay, and are stated to be gameplay, may actually not be gameplay, but merely a target for the gameplay the developer wishes to achieve…yeah.
Wii Lied To You (A Little Bit)
A gamer’s expectations are difficult to meet at the best of times, so it’s probably unwise to sprinkle that unscalable demand with a hefty dose of trickery and inaccuracy.
When Nintendo’s pint sized console was announced, the audience watched in amazement at the larger than life, virtual reality opportunities that the Wii would provide. Motion control would redefine the industry, change the hardcore gamer’s perceptions of their favourite past-time and usher in a new era of unequalled and unparalleled experiences. It was enough to make grown men cry tears of joy.
Unfortunately the reality wasn’t the 1-1 motion feedback fans were expecting. Nor were the graphical capabilities of the console. Instead, gamers quickly discovered that many of the Wii’s motion gestures could be performed with a simple waggle or flick of the wrist, very different from the over-emphasised full-body movements depicted in the trailers.
Unresponsive controls plagued many titles as developers struggled to get to grips with the ‘revolutionary’ control scheme. Admittedly, the technology has benefited greatly from the later incorporated ‘MotionPlus’ technology with the Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword a prime example. But many developers simply decide against implementing the added accuracy (Carnival Games 8 is fine as it is…).
Hopefully, we’ve managed to turn you all into the shrewd cynics that we are.
Maybe if the Wii originally launched with MotionPlus this argument could be potentially moot, however, the fact remains that the Wii, in it’s original form, was a brilliant idea which translated into an ultimately flawed product. And yes we are aware it has been a complete, and monumental success.
What’s That Smell?
Hopefully, we’ve managed to turn you all into the shrewd cynics that we are – the party poopers blessed with the power of hindsight screaming “blasphemy!” at every cinematic game trailer. Though considering we’re excitable children stuck in men’s bodies, we’ll be salivating as much as the next guy or girl when Microsoft reveal their next Xbox; probably accompanied by a choreographed team of dancing Master Chiefs (you heard it here first).
So remember Ladies and Gentlemen. The next time you hear about a console’s ‘potential’ or witness some eye-popping, mind-blowing game footage, take a deep breath…focus…and proclaim “I’ll believe it when I see it.” And sometimes, these binary code bringers of joy not only deliver, but completely redefine our fanatical expectations.