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Talking Point: Why Is Sony Saving Its PS4 Reveals Until the Last Minute?

Posted by Sammy Barker

Let it cook

There was a sense of disbelief when LittleBigPlanet 3’s logo nonchalantly appeared on Sony’s sizeable E3 2014 press conference screen. These media briefings have become so pre-meditated over the years that it’s often easy to predict the types of titles that are going to be shown – after all, our pre-show predictions post really wasn’t alarmingly far off the mark. However, with Sony’s holiday lineup the subject of much misery in the months leading up to this week’s event, no one expected the next entry in Sackboy’s do-it-yourself series to secure a November launch.

In fact, we didn’t really know that it was even in development. There had been some rumours regarding the release prior to last year’s show, but nothing especially concrete. And this clearly signals a conscious corporate change – especially from a firm formerly famous for its misleading trailers and protracted production cycles. You may feel that the PlayStation 4 is light on exclusives even in lieu of the abovementioned sequel and Bloodborne, but it’s become apparent that the organisation will no longer announce projects several years out.

And it’s not hard to understand why it’s made this change. The Last Guardian remains a noose around executives such as Shuhei Yoshida’s feathery neck, with Shadow of the Colossus creator Team ICO’s cat-bird almost casting its own, er, shadow over this week’s entire convention. Despite being in production for some seven or so years now, constant clarification regarding the status of this ambitious escapade doesn’t appear to have sated some sections of the press, with IGN erroneously reporting that the title had been cancelled, only to retract the ‘confirmation’ later.

While the title did get a release date once upon a time, this is an example of a release that was announced far too early, and while the subsequent outpouring of fan anticipation may potentially have kept the project moving during its disastrous development cycle, the platform holder probably wishes that it never revealed the ambitious adventure so prematurely in the first place. And it’s not the only project to flag the flaws of early announcements, as Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End has also been privy to unnecessarily concerned prying eyes since its unveiling in November last year.

Presumably designed to build anticipation right around the launch of Sony’s next-gen machine, the narrated trailer achieved little other than waves of negative articles, as Naughty Dog endured a very public – but seemingly quite natural – employee reshuffle. With this week’s teaser trailer, the title appears to be very much back on track, but with actor Todd Stashwick’s part being recast, it’s difficult to assess what last year’s early reveal even achieved. And the same could be said for so many other games: Rainbow Six: Patriots, Fuse, and even Killzone 2 are all examples of titles that have found themselves underfire for not being anywhere near ready at the time of announcement.

And that’s the very reason that you’re not seeing Sony’s many secret PS4 exclusive games. Guerrilla Games, Media Molecule, Sony Santa Monica and many more are all busy preparing blockbuster software, but just like LittleBigPlanet 3, the platform holder’s not going to show it to you until it’s ready. The manufacturer may end up losing message board list wars as a result of this approach, but surely there’s more value to an almost finished piece of software than a pretty looking pre-rendered trailer that tells you absolutely nothing about the title that it’s poorly trying to promote. You’ll still see the Japanese giant’s big upcoming titles eventually, of course – but you’re just going to have to wait.


Do you like the idea of games being announced right before they’re released, or do you prefer the drama that protracted production cycles bring? Do you enjoy being shocked by last minute announcements, or do you prefer it when publishers tease? Drop a bomb in the comments section below.

Do you prefer last minute announcements? (75 votes)

Yes, show me a game shortly before it's ready to release

53%

Hmm, it really depends

36%

No, I prefer to know about new games as early as possible

11%

Please login to vote in this poll.

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User Comments (21)

rjejr

#1

rjejr said:

It's not the early announcements that are the problem, it's the failure to deliver on time. Just say - we started working on this game, it's still a few years out, but we wanted you to know. I think at one point some online retailer had an actual date on TLG back in early 2011. It was on my wish list w/ GoW3, Bayonetta, the 1st Darksiders and Star Ocean.

I wasn't expecting X until 2015 and I'm not expecting Zelda until 2016 but I'm happy they are being made. They just need to get the dates right before they announce the dates. Watch Dogs, DKCTF and Rayman on Wii U were all delayed RIGHT BEFORE their release dates, and that's just wrong.

BrB

#2

BrB said:

"Why Is Sony Saving Its PS4 Reveals Until the Last Minute?"

Great start, better end, great show!!

get2sammybAdmin

#3

get2sammyb said:

@rjejr I get what you're saying with regards to The Legend of Zelda, but you already knew it was going to happen anyway, right? And I think what you say about delays is actually a symptom of these early announcements. I imagine that the longer you wait, the easier it becomes to pinpoint a very specific date, as the developer should have theoretically overcome many of the development challenges at the point.

Demi_God

#4

Demi_God said:

I really like how one of those indie games was ready during the E3 show, that was a great touch. LBP3 has me excited, I love the Little Big Planet games, the creativity that people have in creating levels and games are AMAZING!

As for Zelda, Now I'm going to have to buy a WiiU just for Zelda.

SkywardLink98

#5

SkywardLink98 said:

I hate learning about a game and then waiting 3 years to see it. Around 12 months is good for me. I like to have some time for the hype to build as well, though a few "on store shelves in one month" is always a nice surprise.

rastamadeus

#6

rastamadeus said:

Depends on the game. Some we all know are going to happen - new Zelda for example which looks ridiculously good. What Nintendo do with Smash (daily updates, massive teasing, out of the blue announcements) is great for a game like that, hence Sony copying it for PS All-Stars Battle Royale. Some reveals are best saved for last minute though. Back at E3 in 1997 everyone knew Rare had GoldenEye 007 coming out in just a few weeks but then they said "Oh, we have this all but finished finished and it's out in November." That game? Diddy Kong Racing. The short reveal gathered much more attention to it and it helped it become a success. God that was a good game. And GoldenEye 007... **** the N64 was perfection.

Punished_Boss_84

#7

Punished_Boss_84 said:

Prey 2. The Last Guardian. Agent. Final Fantasy XV. Half Life 3. ZOE HD Collection for PS Vita. Need I go on?

Karltellis91

#8

Karltellis91 said:

All I'm saying is watchdogs and drive club have made the perfect statement for the teasers been to early they were both expected for the ps4 release.. And then both being delayed I personally only wanted the ps4 for the release date because of those two games... I personally think that they should release teasers 3 month beforehand then it gives more hype and less waiting times...

Paranoimia

#9

Paranoimia said:

They're announcing games earlier and earlier, and one way or another, it usually leads to disappointment. Either the game isn't ready and they push it back, which annoys people... or - as in the case of BF4 - they release anyway, giving us an unfinished, buggy product, which annoys people even more.

Just get the game to a stage where it's practically finished, then announce it, and spend another 6 months tidying it up and polishing it.

There should never be more than 12 months between announcement and release, in my personal opinion. Too long and you lose the hype - other games come along offering everything bigger and better, and people's attention spans seem to be getting shorter and shorter.

I'm still hoping to see TLG at some point, but at this point I'm nowhere near as hyped as I was. It looked to be technically impressive 5 years ago, but we've seen a lot of very impressive stuff since then, technically and in terms of emotional impact, and I'm not sure it will have the impact it once would have.

feelthesarcasm

#10

feelthesarcasm said:

I don't mind a game still being 6-9 months away from being released. But I hate when they announce a game they know will excite people and just show up with a 1 minute trailer (I'm looking at you Uncharted)

The KH3 reveal last year blew people minds, but once we saw the "now in development" it was like UGH this is prob 3 years away. Same thing once again with Square Enix. Why announce Tomb Raider now when it doesn't come out until Next holiday? You could have announced it in Jan or at next year's E3. You can tell by the roar of the crowd that no one was expecting LBP to come out in 5 months. I was expecting it wouldn't be until March or April.

Mainly the issue is they announce these games, show a trailer and then you don't hear another thing about it for at least a year. As someone else mentioned, games where you can have regular updates and surprises like Pokemon or Smash Bros, letting the hype build is good. And I guess Square Enix is trying to do that with KH with the HD collections, giving people a chance who never played the original to catch up on the story, but it loses it's appeal if the game is still 2-3 years AFTER the collection.

I'd rather not get any info or announcement on a game until they actually have gameplay to show and it's near completion.

Dannyboy1996

#11

Dannyboy1996 said:

I think they should reveal games around 6/9 months before release. No one wants o see an amazing trailer then forget about it because the game isn't due to be released for another year or two. Sony played it well and now I've seen new trailers for lbp3, sea island 2 etc, I know I won't have to wait long until I can get my hands on them.

N711

#12

N711 said:

I slefishly voted I prefer to know everything. XD
I agree this uncharted teader would have been so much better and what a WOW but I think mainly because the first teaser wasn't very good imo.
The problem is we already know / heard of the new games from Guerrilla Games, Bend , Santa Monica a hint. And we are going to know more and more and end up watching leaked pics and trailers like project beast or other third party games recently. And that is not good at all instead of a better early. Reveal

iDangerMouse_

#13

iDangerMouse_ said:

LittleBigPlanet 3 has me excited, in all honesty. Never played an LBP game before so it should be interesting to say the least. But hey, just my opinion.

alphadrago5

#14

alphadrago5 said:

I'm a "screw surprises, give me anticipation" kind of guy. I'd much rather spend a year or two being excited for a coming game than hear about it at the last moment and be bored up until then. I can spend all that time thinking about what'll i'll do in said game, or what class/role to be or whatever.

sinalefa

#15

sinalefa said:

People will never be happy. If they don't announce games, they ask "What are they working on now?", if they announce them way before release, they die of anticipation and impatience, if they announce them soon before release, then their wallet is not ready.

And God forbid delaying a game to improve it. That is always better, as gamers we should anticipate a great product, not an early buggy mess.

Rayman Legends is a different case because the game was ready, then delayed a week before release to have all other versions, and that ended up adding polish to the Wii U version.

Carl-G

#16

Carl-G said:

I got sooooooooooooooooo HAPPY seeing LBP3 :P Made my week! ;) + OddSock?!?! What a cutie(in a Odd way)!!! :D

Ginkgo

#17

Ginkgo said:

Although I always prefer anticipation to surprise. Personally I think that it is always better to wait until they have concrete gameplay to show. Not really interesting in seeing CGI trailers that have no baring on gameplay. Only causes disappointments down the track. Happy for them to wait until a game is ready to show. I also dont want to have to wait 2 years for a game. I lose interest. 6 months is a good anticipation time.

-CraZed-

#18

-CraZed- said:

It is simply due to how well the PS4 is selling ATM. There is no need to just drop all their work-in-progress projects. If sales were in the crapper we might be getting more but that would only end up pumping up expectations and force Sony to put out half-baked products.
It is the smartest way to address this issue right now and I think the consumers are okay with it. Sony has a history of great first-party titles and with third party titles so far being better, for the most part, on the PS4 gamers are happy with waiting. I know I am.

al_b_614

#19

al_b_614 said:

I wish some folks wouldnt spoil the good suprises, ahem thuway. Around E3 this year most of the titles that got revealed happened a week before E3 excluding LBP3. But sometimes i wish people could keep the rumors to themselves but i guess thats what i get for reading game news alot. I just have to know whats goin on i guess.

Dohv

#20

Dohv said:

Bloodbrone is an good example for me. It was revealed Monday and will realease early 2015. That's what I like to see. Not too early not too late.

hydeks

#21

hydeks said:

it would have been nice if they showed some more stuff coming later, but that wasnt the problem at all with their conference. The problem was it was a 2 hour long sleeping pill that had bits of info we wanted wrapped around information they took forever to say that we didnt care much about lol I think Sony should hire celebrities next year to do there announcements, cause all those suits the had on the stage where dull people :-P

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