IT'S NOT YOU, IT'S ME: THE BURDEN OF HIGH EXPECTATIONS
Is it really our fault?
It seems like nowadays the bar is set really high for video game developers and publishers to release a game that has a score of 90 and above on meta critic. Now, as much as you claim that scores really don't matter, they do have their place. Recently we have had a lot of games release to poor review scores and even harsher criticism but how much of that criticism is based on our high expectations of these games? Are we putting way too much pressure on the developers or are we led to believe something that just isn't a reality?
Its always disappointing when a new game releases and its pure trash. Nowadays this outcome is becoming more and more commonplace with developers caring less and less about their product. Now there could be many factors to lead to the conclusion that a game sucks but when is it really the gamers fault? Are we putting too much expectations on games to be near perfect upon release?
Yes and No. Without the developers we cant play their games and vice versa. With that being said its very rare that a developer will come out and say that its the gamers fault that a game failed. But when you sit there and think about it, can they be right? Can we really be partly to blame?
I recently saw an interview with Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford and IGN's Ryan McCaffery in response to high expectations in the gaming industry. Keep in mind that Pitchford is the same individual who was responsible for Aliens Colonial Marines. He is also responsible for other gems like Brothers in Arms and the Borderlands series. So why the 1criticism all of a sudden?
Well to put it plainly Aliens Colonial Marines was complete garbage and what made it worse was that Gearbox, namely Pitchford, lied to us about it. Whether or not you believe the accusations of Gearbox taking SEGA'S money to fund Borderlands 2, this presents a big issue in the development process. Developers are under huge amounts of pressure to deliver a good game in a reasonable amount of time. So I'll ask the question again, is it our fault?
Pitchord firmly believes that we weren't "mis-sold on Aliens Colonial Marines" even though we were shown a bogus vertical slice and dozens of bullshots. This is the instance bwhere we all yell in unison "BULLSHIT!" Its not our fault that we were given false advertising and claiming that it was not is pretty insulting. But I am not going to crucify Pitchford just yet, as much as many people may hate him he did bring up a valid issue amongst the developers, namely the gamers.
Are we putting too much pressure on developers to give us 5 star games all the time? Look at games like The Division and Destiny that got their own criticism for underperforming, and I'll be honest, I was part of that criticism. I had this image of an amazing game experience that just blows me away. But like always I get sadly disappointed in the result but is it the developers fault or is it my fault? Am I setting myself up for this type of failure? Well in a sense yes.
But then there is the other side of a darker coin. Going as far as saying that it's only our fault is just plain moronic. The consumer just goes by what the developers are trying to sell us and sometimes, well most of the time, we get many game doctored screenshots showing beautifully rendered characters and environments. What do the developers expect the gamers to think based on the screenshots? Sure you can have disclaimers all over the screenshots and videos but there has to be some sort consistency with what is in development and what gets released. In this instance, it's the developers fault for misleading it's consumers, not ours.
As a consumer I am always vigilant when it comes to any kind of purchase. I do months of research before I make any decision. I'll admit, I have been a victim of the hype train in the past, I'll let you insert which game it was here ________. I no longer pre-order games or buy any season passes for the reasons listed above and I think it's for the best. Both developers and gamers need to take responsibility for the high expectations that are being set for games. Gamers need to keep their expectations in check while developers need to be more up front with that they are selling us. Who knows if we are ever going to get to a place where this is the standard but in the long run it will make things easier on both of us.
As a gamer, I look at all games that come out. Sometimes you will have great games and sometimes you will have bad games. With the evolving times, we have grown spoiled and accustomed to Oscar-style storytelling and blockbuster action. The issue with high expectations is that it can be a curse as well as a blessing. Now I am not saying that I want to play games that are unplayable or glitchy, but I am talking about games that are not amazing, but not horrible neither. The reason I say this is due to the mindset that gamers have been accustomed to. They want to see the best of the best and nothing else will do.
With the advent of social media. People are sharing ideas and opinions at a rate that was unheard of 20 years ago. People are becoming over critical and everyone swears they know what is “epic”, “legendary”, or “ awesome”. The truth of the fact that people speak what they do not know. Everyone swears they are experts and talk down ideas that do not garner their favor. I was guilty of this at some points. Every gamer remembers the ps3 vs xbox 360 “debates” and I am personally happy those days are gone. Granted it produced some truly amazing support for the console market, but it left gamers very divided in an industry where there was enough for everyone.
Those days are leaving us as social media is gearing towards a more political, and intense platform. Like myself, gamers are getting older and the days of hardcore gaming is coming to an end. The calm days of playing games with your kids are starting to come into light and those late gaming nights are few and far between. It gives older gamers a chance to sit back and think about “the glory days”, and a chance to crack a smile about the achievements of the past. Basically, ages brings wisdom, and with wisdom, comes revelation.
The truth of the fact is, not every game is going to be a “Last of Us” or “Halo”. Developers are constantly looking for new and innovative ideas to bring on to screen. As much as I see that some games get noticed( castle Crasher), some games do not get the accolades they deserved (Bulletstorm). I am starting remember back in the day when you had no clue what you had in a game and were pleasantly surprised. I write this and think to myself that as wild as it was when I was a child. Those days were fun. You knew nothing about the new game outside of EGM or Gamepro. Your friends knew as much as you did and playing was more a treat than a competition. The games were subpar, but when you have your friends and only 2 controllers, we made the fun. Gamers need to take a step back and see what gaming truly is, fun.
Do you think expecations are getting to high? Let us know what you think in the comments below.