It’s November, a big month for video games and certainly the final destination for many hype trains we’ve seen built and boarded throughout the year, and in some cases even earlier. The WiiU looks poised to launch well, and Call of Duty‘s newest installment looks to do as well as ever. Notice I didn’t say Black Ops 2, yet you probably thought it to yourself. Looks like the hype train is working.
But we have yet to know what exactly these hype trains are running on. Surely, we’d love that they all run on hydrogen fuel and don’t do a thing wrong to our industry’s environment, but is it possible we’re ignoring the smoke pouring from the stack? Hype trains are great for moving units, but are we risking something by letting these go unchecked by getting mostly good answers and less of the truth until we have a copy in our hands?
Today, in HBG Asks, this time on a nice Friday to spice things up, we’re asking you about these very tools of mass consumption. Do you board the hype trains? Can a certain franchise not be resisted? Are there games you can’t wait to get your hands on so badly you pre-order? Are pre-order incentives working on you? Or are you one of the proud few with the clairvoyance to see past the PR campaigns and wait until reviews come in, prices drop, or recommendations are made?
There are plenty of hype trains to board these days, and they only get easier to board when the rumor mill starts up well around six months before launch, with details and gameplay leaking and releasing along the way.
As always, any available writers or contributors will toss in their response to the question which, we’ll remind you in case you’ve gotten lost somehow, is “Are you boarding the hype trains?”
Christian: I have to admit, I’m a bit polarized on things. I’m incredibly timid of new stuff. Whether that’s IPs, hardware, or otherwise, I almost always need some sort of comfort level with the developers or opinions among people I trust before I give something a shot. Maybe I’ve really fallen into their trap doing so, but I really trust franchises that have done right by me in the past. That said, you can ruin a franchise for me with a bad game or even bad direction with a game. I loved Halo 3, but by Halo: Reach, I wasn’t looking forward to any future Halos, let alone a Halo 4 that I find incredibly unnecessary. Meanwhile, I’m as ready for GTA V as ever after enjoying GTA IV and basically every previous iteration. My aversion to new things comes back with WiiU, especially with Microsoft/Sony’s next-gen coming so likely next year. Meanwhile, I’ll be looking into Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 simply because they seem to be redeeming the franchise from MW3 and the technical issues of Black Ops. It’s a mixed bag, but when I like a game, I’m definitely opting for that overnight shipping from Amazon and following it intensely the whole way to release. Most of my decisions are made without the aid of the PR machine, but when I like what’s going on, I’m looking for the first seat on that hype train. And for that, I’m certain I’m a sucker.
Dave: I guess I’m also shy of new titles, especially when it comes to games like Assassin’s Creed III; games that are in an established franchise. In some aspects they are the weakest and easiest games to not like all of a sudden. As they evolve over the years they bring in a sometimes sizeable amount of new features and or mechanics that don’t necessarily work or gel with players. I almost view the game’s progression as release date nears and try to pick out things I don’t think I’ll like as gameplay videos/dev walkthroughs are released. But, with that said, I know this year’s Assassin’s Creed will deliver. Its core is what made the title what it is today and a few bad features won’t overshadow that. My point can be made clear when looking at Medal of Honor: Warfighter, great, old franchise which has sadly been wrecked by this year’s release. New features (such as the breaching system) are just plain heartbreaking. On the flip side, with games that are brand new, generally one-off indie games, e.g. South Park’s The Stick of Truth out next year, I’ve been a passenger on the hype train since this past E3. All of these things affect my excitement for a game, thus deciding whether I commit to buying it in whatever way that may be. Talking about pre-orders, I hardly ever find myself pre-ordering a game. I did pre-order Max Payne 3, but in hindsight I gained nothing from it. It even arrived 2 days late. With GTA V though, rather than pre-ordering, you’ll probably find me camped outside on it’s midnight release. The advertising and PR talk do in some ways sway me. If what they choose to show off is something I like, or even if I like the art style on the billboard, it’ll interest me somewhat. A last example is Driver: San Francisco. Again, massive series for me which was buried as soon as the first gameplay was released. Some things just aren’t for everyone.
So, how about you? Is there anything that came to your mind the moment we thought of hype? Was it good or bad? Are you susceptible to the snares of the hype train, for better or worse?
Let us know in the comments below and we’ll be back next week (I promise, this time) with a new question and some great answers from the previous week.