We have all been there; we see a trailer for a game and we are instantly whisked away into a minute long dream world where we dissect and cross reference every single thing we see for those sixty seconds. We don't just do it with video games, we do it with tv shows, movies, and even music videos. But because I like writing about video games, I'm going to express my opinion on that core concept instead of talking about the others.
We used to see a lot of CGI trailers. CGI stands for "computer generated-imagery" and it's used a whole lot. Sometimes you don't really think about it, and sometimes you trick your brain into watching something and accept the fact that the final product won't look or act that way (which is for the better). Sometimes we are left with the core concept of the game, way in advance, and get all pissed off when the game can't properly look like what the trailer specifically showed you.
Take this trailer for CyberPunk 2077. It's a teaser trailer released three years ago! We haven't heard a pip from this game since then besides "hey, we're still making it." from CD Projekt Red; makers of The Witcher 3. But besides all of that, we saw this trailer before the launch of next generation hardware, and we are left to look at this game with a microscope. There will be a lot of people who will think the final product will be awesome, as I rightfully hope it is. Then you will have people that will destroy the game before we even get some more actual information about it. Hell, some people are at their keyboards this very instant, ready to pounce on any information they possibly could.
That is because trailers are supposed to produce some sort of interest in the game. Most of the time, big game companies work on multiple games at the same time. As the Witcher 3 was most likely half-way through it's production, we got this, created by the people who were done with their position with the company and needed to produce something new. Now that 2015 rolled around and we got to play Witcher 3, we can look back at this trailer and go "Well the Witcher 3 was really good, and CD Project Red is a good company, so Cyberpunk could be a first day buy because I trust that company."
And you should, because who else sends this out with every copy of their game:
But let's backtrack here. This isn't about how awesome CD Projekt Red is. I mean, they are awesome... But for some people, Witcher 3 didn't live up to expectations. These are the same people that will settle for Pizza Hut instead of getting some actually, non-shitty pizza. Some people didn't realize that the E3 presentation of this game was running on a high end computer, something that consoles can't handle as easily. But the game still ran, it worked, and it's still one of the best games on consoles and PC right now.
But not every game is Witcher 3; not every game is going to close the gap as effectively as CD Projekt Red. We have another company that is the epitome of "waiting for the other shoe to drop" and that company is Ubisoft. Ubisoft has fallen from grace so quick they made EA Games look like saints. I can explain this with just one conjunction: Watchdogs.
Not only has this game gone down in infamy for starting the biggest "shitstorm" of graphical capabilities, but was one of the first titles to really make Ubisoft go down hill when it came to their developmental capabilities. Because if you look at Watchdogs right now, it looks entirely different then the final product that was delivered to us. The game also featured settings that were locked and could only be unlocked through cracking the game. Watchdogs also couldn't run on computers using AMD graphics cards upon launch. Throw in the issues with UPlay (Ubisoft's anti-piracy program) and Watchdogs was a game that no one would touch.
Even Ubisoft's latest title: The Division is another title under fire. The content of the game fails to look as grand as the reveal of this title at E3 2013 (same year as the Cyberpunk 2077 reveal). If anything, this trend in gaming has become so wide spread that it's hard to pinpoint exactly where this all started. It's like a hydra whose head just multiplies without anything slicing one head off. It just does it automatically.
Now one reason why this is happening is because companies want to show off the best product they can throw on the streets. They want everything to look awesome and new and fantastic. So they show off the games on high-end PCs because, once again, it's the only thing that can handle everything that you see at 1080 resolution and at 60 frames per second. If you think a game looks too good to be true, chances are that you're right.
A lot of companies have now started to use more in-game footage to properly show off how the game looks, leading themselves to be more trustworthy of a company. They are hoping to play off your morals in a way to persuade the money out of your wallet. Yet, even somehow the graphics don't look as good as they do in the trailer. The worst part is that we have nothing to compare it with until the game is actually released. We are just sitting here, expecting, waiting, and it isn't until the game actually launches, do we realize that we have been used.
So now we have to think about how we approach games these days. Should we be the ones that just expect the visual downgrade that games are getting these days if we aren't running a super computer at home? Or should companies be more honest with their trailers and presentations? Lies have always brought them in money, and as of right now most companies don't see a reason to stop. But damn, for once I think we can all agree that we want to see a trailer that actually shows off a game instead of trying to sell itself to me like a coked out stripper at a house party.
Thank you for reading folks!