Depending on your view on Titanfall I might be about to add to the noise, the cacophony of people going on and on about it. And while I will be writing a First Impressions piece for it tomorrow (donít hold me to that), this is a bit different, this is me putting across your point of view, you, the person who is sick of hearing about Titanfall and thinks itís incredibly over-hyped.
Thereís no doubt that a lot of the hype for Titanfall is press generated. Cast your mind back to last yearsí E3 and the Titanfall footage. Iím not about to suggest that no one except members of the press were excited, thatís nonsense, of course some people were, but the press were particularly enthused. Again, not all the press, and to be fair to the ones that were excited for Titanfall they saw more of it than any of us, they might even be huge Call of Duty fans. A new game from the developers of Modern Warfare, why wouldnít they be excited?
The problem is that itís been relentless. Whenever the game gets shown we hear how good it looks, how it plays even better, how we should all be excited. The VGX awards is basically just a series of adverts, it always has been and Iíve never understood why it commands any reverence, but even by the VGAís low standards Geoff Keighley really wanted us to know how great Titanfall was going to be, by christ he was looking forward to it. Respawn even popped along to reveal that there was going to be a different Titan type!
As the end of the year podcasts and award shows came around so did the question ďwhat are you looking forward to next year?Ē The answer was of course Titanfall. Bought yourself a new console? Sure there isnít a lot to play on it at the minute, but soon Titanfall will be out on the Xbox One. Xbox One sales are lagging behind those of the PS4, well Titanfall is out soon, weíll see if that makes a difference.
Itís been omnipresent, and particularly with the statements that came out of E3, itís got people wondering about the pressí role in game promotion. I had an issue myself this past week, I posted a story about a collectors edition of a game going on sale, why, itís not news? I posted it because I thought it was interesting, but thereís no doubt that the only thing it could ever do is promote the existence of the game. Itís like the sites that do unboxings, who the fuck does that benefit? Sure I bet they get hits, I bet thereís people that eagerly watch them, but all it does is feed in to the hype, youíre learning and gaining absolutely nothing else.
I was complaining to a friend the other week that if American Football ever takes of in this country (the UK) itíll be through sheer brute force by the TV companies and NFL. We donít care, we barely care for our own sports that arenít football. But with the NFL bringing more and more games over here, and with the Superbowl being more and more hyped every year because terrestrial TV has less and less sport every year, itís easy to see a future where itís a popular sport here. Itís what I call the ITV Piers Morgan Technique. No one likes Piers Morgan, no one, but unless he ends up in prison he will continue to be on our screens until all resistance is eroded.
Itís the sense of inevitability, thatís my problem with the hype surrounding Titanfall. Now, Iíve played the beta and at the risk of spoiling the feature Iím almost certainly going to write tomorrow, itís not bad. But even if the final game had just 5 maps, 3 modes, and a handful of classes, with server problems from day 1, the game is destined to sell. Itís also destined to review well but letís imagine for a minute that it doesnít, that wonít affect the sales. Between Microsoft and EAís advertising budgets, and the pressí obsession, Titanfall will not fail. If youíre one of those people who likes to hope things do die on their arse, give it up, itís not going to happen, and that is troubling, not just with regards to Titanfall but to all games.
However, as rotten as the press building hype and blurring the lines between PR and news is, can I just make a request? Please donít just hate Titanfall because itís been hyped. If it doesnít look like your kind of thing then fine, be indifferent too it, be tired of hearing about it, but it doesnít mean that Titanfall, or any other game hyped to death is bad. Call of Duty isnít a terrible game, Last of Us isnít a terrible game, Gone Home isnít a terrible game. They may well all be overrated, Gone Home certainly is, but the quality of the game is independent from the gaming mediaís love of it.
I get it though, really I do. One person saying ďTitanfall is alright actuallyĒ isnít a problem, even a handful of people saying ďTitanfall is literally the best game I have EVER played!Ē isnít a problem. The problem comes when you get a lot of people saying ďTitanfall is goodĒ, not because of the uniformity, but because the games press and gaming enthusiasts can create a very strong echo chamber. It amplifies one viewpoint, be it right or wrong, positive or negative, and is incredibly frustrating if youíre a dissenting voice. You arenít being heard.
Itís a trap Iíve fallen in to myself, I dislike Bastion more than I probably should. I also hate Oasis far more than I would had I not had my teenage years not been during the mid-to-late 1990s. I loath Zero Dark Thirty, in my head itís a terrible film, it is a terrible film, but itís one Iíd have forgotten about had it not been up for an Oscar.
To be blunt what Iím saying is, donít be ďthat guyĒ, and donít be the accidental fan boy, try to imagine a world where the game, or any game, is being played completely out of the spotlight, without any of its baggage, would you be so down on it? And if you happen to be a member of the gaming press reading this, ask yourself if what youíre posting is actually news, if that trailer really needs to go up, if maybe you should wait for the full game before enthusing that something is destined to be a classic.