It has been a rocky couple of years since you first captured our collective imaginations back in 2013, all the way up to the moment you finally arrived at doorsteps across the country. After multiple delays and promises so lofty, it would give Peter Molyneux a valid reason to say; “Hey guys? maybe tone it down a bit”. We rejoiced and raised our fists to the sky in praise of The Almighty Atlas. Although after a few hours exploring the Euclid galaxy, I can only say this. You’re good. You’re not great. You’re also not bad and that’s OK…
Or at least, it should be OK. For those in the world of PR management services
however, good or bad is irrelevant. What IS relevant is inflating new IP’s to grotesque,
John Carpenter-level proportions. Filling them like balloons with enough hot air and
noxious gas you could almost see them from space.
I am not here to criticize No Man’s Sky for its flaws (that will necessitate a second article, a 40 of absinthe and a lengthy cold shower.) I’ll to leave that task for now to the many others, storming the digital ramparts of people’s computers and phones as you read this. No, I’m here to criticize what No Man’s Sky and so many others of the past have become, almost from the moment of their inception. Emerging from putrid, sacs buried deep underground PR and Marketing firm headquarters. Pulled kicking and snarling from damp holes in the ground like Uruk-hai. Becoming more bloated and engorged with hype each day (i’m looking at YOU Titanfall, Destiny and the rest of your ilk) I can only assume there are scientists in white lab coats, routinely running up and down the halls. Loose papers trailing behind them in the wind, screaming at the top of their lungs “SHUT IT DOWN!”
This unfortunately is the status quo, and that is not going to change any time soon.
Given the prohibitive cost of producing a AAA title coupled with the overwhelming
financial risk inherent to any new IP, it’s not hard to understand why companies feel they have no choice but to lie wholesale. That alone, I am sure we can all tolerate and expect by this point. Lying and marketing go together like peanut butter and chocolate after all, and we eat it up every damn time.
What IS a problem though is evangelizing fanbases to a fever-pitch. Whipping people up
into a near religious fanaticism. Arriving at the point where threatening the lives of
journalist’s and developer’s on a regular basis. Sean Murray himself (y’know.. the guy responsible for the game even existing in the first place) becoming the target of what is seemingly the only “reasonable” option for some. Causing otherwise intelligent and rational people to behave about as intelligent and rationally as a westboro-baptist pro-lifer addicted to bath-salts.
These firms seek to create wars of fandom, and like any war there are arms-dealers and
propagandist’s. There to manipulate public opinion and provide as much ammunition to
those who will answer the call to arms. When the inevitable flame-wars rage across
Youtube comment sections, leaving behind scorched earth, they disappear in a puff of
smoke. Off to plan the next great crusade, and when the dust finally settles? We are left
with nothing but jaded fan’s and bemused CEOs, pulling their hair out once the reviews
start flooding in.
So when the next upcoming AAA title claiming to be nothing less than the Alpha and/or
Omega is on the horizon. Take a moment or two, breathe, understand it will not
“complete” you. Just enjoy it for what it is and move on. Someone makes a snide remark
about it? Live with it and try to understand where they may be coming from. It is just a
game, you owe no allegiance to it.
Stand tall, refuse those who set barrels of anger on fire for profit and clicks. In the
immortal words of Will Wheaton, remember…