All GameSpy’s (rest in peace, my friends) Dan Stapleton wanted was a simple answer to his simple question.
GameSpy: So when’s the PC release date [for Assassin’s Creed III]?
Ubisoft PR: October 30th.
GameSpy: Yeah, but when’s the real PC release date?
Ubisoft PR: It’s October 30th.
GameSpy: Uh huh. And can you say that with a straight face?
Ubisoft PR: You can ask me as many times as you like, but the answer will be the same.
GameSpy: Very well, let’s move on. So, when will you announce the delay of the PC version?
Ubisoft PR: …
Stapleton had every reason not to believe Ubisoft’s PR guy. Every Assassin’s Creed game to date has been delayed on PC at least a few weeks following their console counterparts. What reason was there for Staplton to believe Ubisoft this time?
None, in fact, because Ubisoft later delayed the PC version of Assassin’s Creed III to November 20.
This is a pretty humorous example of what is a larger, more serious issue in the gaming industry. Everywhere we look, industry professionals are lying between their teeth, whether it be unintentionally or on purpose. Case in point: this week’s release of Aliens: Colonial Marines.
Prior to the game’s release, Gearbox released a ton of cool-looking trailers and screenshots to promote the new Aliens game. Hyped up as being the Aliens sequel we’ve all been waiting for, gaming journalists praised the game at preview events and demo stations around the world. When the final product ended up looking nothing like its promotional material, people wanted to know what the hell happened. Why is it that a game that was once expected to be one of the highlights in Q1 2013 now rests at a 44% on Metacritic?
Things began to turn upside down when gamers realized that perhaps Gearbox wasn’t even the ones who were making the game. Another developer, TimeGate, was actually responsible for developing the majority of the game, with Gearbox only handling the multiplayer portion. Gearbox was quick to deny these claims, though questions as to exactly how much TimeGate contributed to the development of Colonial Marines are still high up in the air.
And the drama doesn’t stop there. SEGA, who published Aliens: Colonial Marines, are now investigating claims that Gearbox used the money SEGA had given to them to make a completely different game, Borderlands 2. If these reports are true, Gearbox may be in deep water for misusing developer resources.
So let’s count how many time Gearbox had screwed themselves for lying. They lied about their promotional material, which ended up looking nothing like the final product; they lied about their involvement in developing the game, as much of Colonial Marines was outsourced to other developers as TimeGate; they lied to their publisher by misusing development money for a completely unrelated game; and most importantly, they lied to the fans, promising a high-quality action title but failing at doing so by 66%. Gearbox just might be the number one liar in the gaming industry.
And that’s just one example of a developer breaking the trust of its fans. You may not know this, but there are hundreds of smaller Gearbox’s out there in the gaming wild. And while Sony’s “lie” about letting Microsoft announce their next-generation console first is something we all can chuckle at, other issues like Ubisoft’s 6-month delay of Rayman Legends or Capcom’s on-disk DLC fiasco are very much serious business.
Who can we trust if there are so many liars in the gaming industry? How can we purchase these so-called DLC “season passes” when there’s a chance that the DLC we end up getting turns out to be total crap. How can we confidently preorder a game if high-profile releases like Aliens: Colonial Marines end up being utter bullocks? Lastly, how can we trust any of our game purchases if more and more publishers are lying to us with false promotional material or unrepresentative game demos for advertising?
We live in a world full of liars, and unfortunately there is little we can do about it. The only way us gamers can react is be a little more careful when it comes to our game purchases. Know what you’re going to get yourself into. If a developer is known for having a terrible track record, perhaps the best thing to do is wait for reviews before making a purchase. We aren’t idiots; we are totally capable of being informed customers and don’t have to fall for the trash this industry occasionally throws at us.
At least there’s one thing Gearbox hasn’t dropped the ball on yet, and that’s their promise that the Wii U will have the definitive version of Aliens: Colonial Marines. And they’ll probably follow through on that promise, because – let’s be honest – it’s hard to imagine things getting much worse.