Hype: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

If there is anything that has the power to destroy an avid gamer’s ability to make sound decisions when purchasing new games; it is hype.

It has happened all too many times. A publisher announces a new title which is accompanied by a set of amazing trailers. The internet explodes with individuals suggesting that it will be the greatest thing ever.  You decide to pre-order the game several months in advance (even though you know you probably shouldn’t). In the period between announcement and release you spend your time checking for any information or gameplay footage available on the game which only makes you more excited. After what seems like the longest wait in the world, you finally get to play it and within the first twenty minutes you realise that the final product has almost entirely failed to your expectations. You then vow not to be swallowed by the hype train ever again, but really you know this is just until the next time.

Star Wars: Battlefront was sort of a hype game for me. When it was first announced, the Internet did explode with excitement. I believe that the previous edition of the game had been very well received. I have never played it thus I don’t know whether it was all that great or not and so I wasn’t all that excited about the prospect of a new Battlefront game (especially due to fact that it lacks a proper single player story mode)…well, at least that was until I got hit by the hype train.

It wasn’t so much the hype around Battlefront itself that convinced me that I wanted it, but rather the general excitement that surrounded Star Wars last year. I will probably remember the holiday period of 2015 much like the holiday period of 1999; a bombardment of Star Wars merchandise.

It was on my excitement for the new film that I decided I wanted Battlefront. It didn’t hurt either that all of the game trailers looked most impressive. It was at this time, however, that further information released on the game began to dissuade fans from purchasing the game. The absence of the ‘Space Battles’ game mode and the general lack of content in the main game did anger many and probably did cost EA a good number of sales.

Even with this knowledge though, I still put the game on my Christmas wish list. What does the Internet know right? (Reverse-hype doesn’t seem to work on me, unfortunately.)

Somebody had attempted to purchase the game for me as a Christmas gift and stated that they had been dissuaded by a salesperson (who had cited lack of content as the reason not to purchase it). At first I had been disappointed but later felt that it had been a good thing that this person had not purchased Battlefront as it went on sale on the PlayStation Store not even a week after Christmas (probably because it did not reach projected sales numbers).

I didn’t have very high expectations for Battlefront, especially with the common complaints many players had made about lack of depth and content in my mind. After a few hours of playing the game it was plain to see that many of these complaints had been completely justified. But you know what? I still think it’s a great game.

I believe that any game that can provide one with an entertaining experience for a substantial period of time can be considered a good game or, at the very least, one that has achieved its goal. At this point, I have put about twenty hours in Battlefront and I don’t see myself getting bored with it any time soon.

Whilst Battlefront has been accused of having a lack of depth and content, I do feel that it is these aspects that draw me into playing the game as well as the fact that the multiplayer environment seems to less intense than that of other popular first-person shooters, such as Call of Duty or Battlefield.

As many adult gamers, I am no longer able to put as much time into a game as I once was. When I decide to play multiplayer first-person shooters, I don’t always want to be bogged down by having to study every class, weapon and map before I am able to rack up a single kill.

As previously mentioned, I have never played the first version of the game and therefore do not know of the modes and content that had previously been made available. I do, however, know that sometimes our past memories of a previous title do tend to taint our ability to enjoy new additions. Particularly with games in a series, I do think that hype also tends to perhaps embellish our fond memories of a past beloved game in the series. It is due to this that I do wonder if there had never previously been a Battlefront title whether people would have perhaps been more impressed with the new title.

In this, I am not saying that people cannot be disappointed by the contents of Battlefront. People have the right to feel cheated, but at the same time I guess others have the right to feel that it is a rather enjoyable title.

Most people cite hype as one of the major reason for making terrible (and costly) mistakes when purchasing new games, but sometimes it may lead one to purchase a new game that one really enjoys. The backlash from hype may also have the ability to prevent us from purchasing a title that may have been enjoyable. Although there is no question that hype influences many gamers’ decisions when purchasing new titles, it is important to remember that it is you, and not hype, that ultimately makes the decision to buy a game.